A report by the National Research Council and its Chinese counterparts yesterday recommended increased collaboration between the U.S. and Chinese governments on developing cleaner energy technology and increasing energy efficiency to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming.
An outgrowth of a presidential summit in 1997, the report recommends that Congress and the president authorize three agencies to work in China that are now barred from doing so.
The report noted, however, that the "relationship between China and the United States is currently in a period of some tension over both political and economic issues." Those tensions include the aftermath of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, last May and allegations of Chinese espionage at the U.S. national laboratories.
Notwithstanding those differences, according to a summary of the report, "The Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation could apply their expertise in market reform and management" to encourage cleaner, more efficient energy use.
The United States, with its high per-capita energy use, and China, with its huge population and growing energy demand, are the two largest energy consumers. Together, they account for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions, the report said. In 1997, leaders from both countries signed an Energy and Environment Cooperation Initiative pledging to work on energy, environmental and trade issues.
The report, which was also funded by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, suggested that China might provide a market for clean-coal technologies that are in limited demand in the United States because utilities have converted to cleaner natural gas plants.