Press Release: Roadmap for U.S.-China Collaboration

Press Release - February 5, 2009

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, (703) 516-4146 


Washington, DC – A report released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations provides the Obama administration with a new policy roadmap for immediate action with China on climate change and energy.

Common Challenge, Collaborative Response was produced by the Initiative for U.S.-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Task Force, co-chaired by John L Thornton, Asia Society Board Member, Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and former co-COO of Goldman Sachs, and by Dr. Steven Chu, prior to his nomination as Secretary of Energy.  The report was prepared under the leadership of Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, and Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (See below for a list of participating organizations, senior advisors and contributors.)

“With a new Presidential administration in the U.S. and an increasing awareness of the dangers of global warming among Chinese leaders, our two countries are presented with an unparalleled opportunity to form a new strategic partnership aimed at averting catastrophic climate change,” says Schell. “Without the active participation of the two largest producers of greenhouse gases being aggressively committed to reducing emissions, efforts by other nations are bound to fall short of being able to halt climate change. This report presents both a vision and a concrete road-map for a new collaboration that could turn the U.S. and China into global leaders on the climate change challenge, while simultaneously helping to transform this most critical of all bilateral relationships in the world into one which is under-girded by cooperation on this crucial common interest."

Today’s world financial crisis should strengthen the need for immediate bilateral collaboration.  U.S. and Chinese investments in clean energy, the report argues, could boost the flagging global economy and create new jobs.  “If wisely allocated,” the report maintains, “funds invested by both governments in economic recovery can help address climate change while also advancing ‘green technologies’ and industries that will lead to a new wave of economic growth.”
“An effective global response to climate change is possible only with the full engagement and leadership of the United States and China,” according to Claussen.  “Closer cooperation with China should be a high priority in a U.S. climate strategy.  Working together, the United States and China can advance key technologies and provide a stronger foundation for an effective global climate effort.”  The report maintains that a significant scaling-up of U.S.-China cooperation on efforts to avert climate change will enhance prospects for U.S. domestic legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for a strong and effective new international treaty on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

The report maintains that U.S.-China collaboration can help catalyze a new strategic transformation to a global, low-carbon economy that will be more sustainable while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  At the same time, such close and sustained collaboration between the United States and China will build a stronger foundation for future Sino-American cooperation on other strategic challenges facing both nations in the 21st century.
The report recommends the leaders of the two countries convene a summit to launch a new U.S.-China Partnership on Energy and Climate Change.  The presidential summit should outline a major plan of joint action and empower relevant officials in each country to take the necessary actions to ensure its implementation.  Following this summit the two nations should scale-up collaboration in the following areas: 

• Development and deployment of technologies for the continued use of coal for production of electricity.  “Continuing to rely heavily on coal, as both countries are likely to do, will necessitate large-scale investments in research, pilot projects, and deployment of new technologies to capture and sequester the resulting carbon emissions.” The report recommends, “an ultimate goal in both countries must be the commercialization and widespread deployment of carbon capture-and-storage technology. As a critical first step, experts recommend that 10 to 15 large-scale demonstration projects be developed in a variety of settings around the world over the next decade.”

• Increased collaboration to enhance energy efficiency and to deploy renewable energy technologies. “The broader deployment of solar, wind, and other renewable sources, and expanded development of renewable energy technologies, would help both countries decarbonize their electricity systems and expand their low-carbon economies.”  As an additional benefit, “the global position of both the United States and China as leading wind and solar power technology manufacturers means that scaling-up these technologies could also support major expansion of these domestic industries.”

•  Developing innovative finance mechanisms. “Both governments must commit greater public resources and do so in ways that effectively leverage private investment in a clean energy future.” This will require innovative finance mechanisms and developing new models for licensing low-carbon technologies that can make them broadly available while protecting commercial interests.

Full version of the report and executive summary are available at