Cooperation between the United States and China on clean energy has continued to move forward despite other tensions in the relationship. Seven programs on clean energy that were announced by Presidents Obama and Hu during their 2009 Beijing summit have resulted in significant opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in many aspects of clean energy, including research, technology, manufacturing, regulatory policy and low carbon-development strategies.
There are also serious concerns, including American worries that China’s growing industrial base for wind and solar power equipment threatens the United States’ own potential to create new high-tech manufacturing jobs in these sectors, that China may make dangerous compromises on environmental and safety concerns as it ramps up its nuclear program, and that Beijing is doing too little to address carbon emissions coming from its massive increase in coal utilization. China in return worries that the U.S. will use environmental issues as a pretext to constrain China’s economic growth.
On September 17, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted a conference to discuss the crosscutting issues in clean energy, clean coal and nuclear power. Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center, provided introductory remarks. After each panel, participants took audience questions.