The potential of China-US clean-tech partnership

As mentioned before, I am currently researching on materials about renewable energy developments in China. This current report from McKinsey & Company about potential clean tech partnership between the US and China might help.

McKinsey warns that momentum to curb global warming could stall and neither country will maximize its gains in terms of green jobs, new companies, and energy security unless both the US and China work together to provide the scale, standards, and technology transfer necessary to make a handful of promising but expensive new clean-energy technologies successful.

“Whether collaborating formally or informally, China and the United States working as a group of two (or G-2) dedicated to climate change would boost these technologies and deliver benefits that would accrue to all nations.”

An example is the electric car sector where both countries, according to McKinsey, can collaborate by setting coordinated product and safety standards across the two markets, funding the rollout of infrastructure, sponsoring joint R&D initiatives in select areas (such as new materials for car parts), ensuring that trade policies support rather than hinder the development of a global supply chain for the sector, and providing consumers with financial incentives to buy the new models.

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is also another area for both the US and China to develop successfully together.

“Together, the two governments could fund demonstration plants in China and the United States, jointly evaluate technologies available from vendors, set standards, and drive down costs.”

McKinsey estimate that by 2030 CCS could “clean” 17% of coal power in the US and 30% of China’s coal power, reducing total combined emissions by as much as 7%.

The challenges for both countries to work together are numerous, the report said. One big issue is protecting Intellectual Property (IP) technologies. China will need to improve its ability to enforce global IP rules, according to McKinsey.

Maybe this recent partnership announcement between US-based Berkeley Lab and China-based Tsinghua University in the development of building energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both countries could be the start of a beautiful clean energy friendship.

According to both organizations, buildings in the U.S. and China consume more than 40% of the energy used by buildings worldwide.

[First image from McKinsey, photo from Berkeley Lab]

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