Photo via the Wall Street Journal
Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao made the wrong sort of news this past weekend when they dashed any hope of a binding treaty next month in Copenhagen. But today they made news for the right reasons, agreeing on a new partnership between their two nations--the biggest two polluters on the planet--to share information about renewable energy technologies. The announcement says that the United States and China are committed to working together to deploy renewable energy and best practices on grid modernization. Bringing the grid into the 21st century is a priority to increase efficiency and move energy around the countries.
On energy efficiency, the two countries have agreed to create building efficiency codes and labels, industrial energy efficiency benchmarking and harmonizing test procedures and performance metrics for consumer product standards, the White House said. The plan will also incorporate the private sector by creating an annual U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum to promote energy efficiency and expand bilateral trade and investment.
In his "town hall" speech yesterday, Obama highlighted energy efficiency in buildings as "a terrific opportunity to learn from each other." Both countries have targeted energy efficiency as a top priority, with the United States investing more than $17 billion in efficiency investments in its economic stimulus package and China setting a goal to reduce the energy intensity of economic activity by 20 percent in five years.
The two will also work together to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles through joint standards development, demonstrations and a technical road map to identify research, manufacturing and marketing needs. The United States will also help China explore and develop its shale gas potential, according to the White House.
The two leaders also said that they will create a joint U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center that will focus on carbon capture and sequestration, a technology promised by some to eliminate the pollution from burning coal by burying it underground.
If only they brought this level of leadership to the international climate negotiations we might have a deal next month instead of a morass.