Could Clean Technology Be Something US and China Cooperate On?

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 06:47 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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With all the differences and disagreements between the United States and China, two international experts believe common ground could be found in furthering clean technology to help the environment, the Orange County Register said.

“Matching China's needs, resources, scale and incentives with the intellectual, technological and managerial resources of U.S. companies could be a global win,” wrote David Dreier, chair of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission, and Bill Mundell, who is producing a documentary on the two countries. “China is accelerating along the learning curve of a toxic environment, facing the full implications of severe health risks and costly cleanup. … For us it gets personal, too. We breathe mercury, sulphur oxide, ozone and black carbon that can traverse the Pacific to California in mere days.”

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The nonprofit U.S. China Clean Tech Center calls China “the biggest clean tech market in the world,” and numerous experts support the idea of the two countries partnering together.

As China and the United States struggle to find agreement on their divergent philosophies, Dreier and Mundell propose the two work together on this one clear-cut common interest. What’s more, they wrote for the Register, their differences would complement each other.

“That partnership would leverage common interests, but our differences are what would propel it. China has the political ability to focus huge resources quickly — recently pushing its clean tech investment goals from a planned investment of $375 billion through 2015 to $735 billion. China may be better at mustering the patient, long term, strategic approach our environmental challenges require,” the two said in the Register.

The U.S., which is seeing decreasing government investment in clean technologies, could see real profit, the Register said. “China's needs and investment reserves can save endangered U.S. companies and game-changing technologies – and even attract new U.S. private capital as China's long-term partnership provides new investment incentives,” Dreier and Mundell said.

U.S. investment in clean tech has been dropping and, according to the Pew Charitable Trust, the country ranks 10th in “installed clean energy capacity growth rate since 2006.”

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