Cooperative Competitors

Potential of U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation

U.S. and Chinese bilateral cooperation was reinvigorated in 2009 with nine clean energy agreements signed by Presidents Obama and Hu. Expanding clean energy cooperation between the world’s two largest energy consumers will be essential in lowering the costs to transition the world into a low-carbon growth model. Making this shift will demand collaboration of the government, NGO, research and business sectors to promote clean energy policies and technologies—a cooperative process that currently faces some crucial market and policy obstacles. Promising areas for the two countries to promote low-carbon development and jobs include: scaled renewables, power grid modernization, carbon capture and sequestration, and shale gas exploration. Furthermore, as both countries face growing confrontations between energy development and water resources, a new and untapped issue for bilateral cooperation will be to create policies and governance mechanisms to encourage energy technologies that are both low carbon and water efficient.

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