The official state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to American President Obama at the White House produced some interesting nuggets of understanding between the two global leaders around green technology and clean energy this week. A joint statement issued by the two acknowledged a view shared by many, American and Chinese alike, that sees “climate change and energy security as two of the greatest challenges of our time.”
To this end, the leaders of two of the world’s most industrialized and most greenhouse gas emitting nations “welcomed new public-private partnerships and collaboration on the development and deployment of clean energy technologies that will spur economic growth and create jobs.” These include the the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, which we’ve covered previously.
Also agreed upon in principle between Presidents Obama and Hu were initiatives on “energy efficiency research and clean electricity, and an agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Development and Reform Commission, and other Chinese agencies on next generation aviation biofuels, congestion and multimodal transportation planning, and livable communities.”
Even as all of this was unfolding however, environmental leaders issued an open letter to the two leaders in which they called upon them to do dramatically more than either nation seems willing to embrace at the moment. Calling upon the U.S. and China to declare “a global climate emergency,” these leaders pushed for aggressive carbon emissions reduction goals.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, commenting on the the meeting between Chinese and American leaders, noted “cooperation with China on clean energy is good for Americans and good for the world. As the world’s largest producers of energy, consumers of energy and greenhouse gas emitters, the energy and climate challenge cannot be solved without the United States and China. What we do — or do not do — in the coming decades matters to the entire world.”