World / US and Canada

A lot rides on China-US energy cooperation: panel

By AMY HE in New York ( Updated: 2016-04-08 12:41

China and the US need to cooperate more on matters of renewable energy not only for the two countries' benefit but for the sake of the world, said US-China energy experts.

"The energy cooperation between US and China, not only important for these two countries, is also very helpful for the whole world, because we are the biggest two countries in economic size, in energy consumption and also in the oil industry as well," said Zhang Guobao, chairman of the Advisory Committee of the National Energy Committee and former director of the National Energy Administration.

Zhang, who was also former vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, was responsible for drafting energy-development programs, new energy development programs, and mid- and long-term nuclear power development programs.

Chen Weidong, former energy researcher, said that China's demand for oil and gas will grow even as the economy slows down, which will further impact the US-China relationship and influence the way the two countries cooperate.

"Absolute demand will continue and go up. Just like Zhang said, the two countries are so important not only for the cooperation on the oil industry, but on the Middle East as well," he said on Thursday at a renewable-energy panel discussion hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the China Energy Fund Committee.

The two countries established the US-China Renewable Energy Partnership in 2009 to cooperate on clean-energy programs as part of a 10-year effort.

Former President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama signed the partnership as a way for the two countries to establish leadership in the global transition to a clean-energy economy.

Joanna Lewis, associate professor of science and technology at Georgetown University, said that the two countries' cooperation over the last six years has "really been able to transform global action" on topics like climate change, which is the "most well-known success story".

The Paris Agreement would not have been possible, she said, if President Xi Jinping and President Obama were not in a position to make their November 2014 announcement, when China said it would peak its carbon emissions by around 2030, and the US said it would reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 levels by 2025.

"Since then, we've seen two more presidential statements as well as a city-level summit of leaders come together and really think about how to implement these targets domestically," she said.


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