US, China urged to col­lab­o­rate on new en­ergy

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The United States and China, the world’s two largest green­house gas emit­ters, have the eco­nomic might to de­velop new en­ergy tech­nolo­gies, said Steven Chu, for­mer US sec­re­tary of en­ergy.

Chu spoke at the US-China New En­ergy Econ­omy Fo­rum on Wed­nes­day in San Fran­cisco, which at­tracted scores of ex­perts and en­trepreneurs in the en­ergy sec­tor from both coun­tries.

He told the fo­rum that three quar­ters of the green­house gas emis­sions oc­curred in the last 65 years and that the world is fac­ing se­ri­ous cli­mate is­sues — the global tem­per­a­ture has in­creased, and glaciers are melt­ing.

A 6- to 9-me­ter rise in sea lev­els will likely cre­ate 500 to 700 mil­lion world­wide cli­mate refugees, and tens of mil­lions of peo­ple would be dis­placed in the Shang­hai area alone, said Chu, a pro­fes­sor of physics and of molec­u­lar and cel­lu­lar phys­i­ol­ogy at the Stan­ford Univer­sity Med­i­cal School.

In Bei­jing and other cities in China, air pol­lu­tion has reached dan­ger­ous lev­els that could lead to an in­crease in lung can­cers, he said.

The so­lu­tion is to tran­si­tion from tra­di­tional fos­sil fuel en­ergy to re­new­able en­ergy, pri­mar­ily wind, wa­ter and so­lar, Chu said.

Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou ear­lier this month, China and the US for­mally com­mit­ted to join­ing last year’s Paris Agree­ment on cli­mate change.

China pledged to peak car­bon emis­sions by 2030, while the US pledged to cut emis­sions by 28 per­cent by 2025 com­pared with the level in 2005.

“In the last three years, China ap­pears more com­mit­ted to the ma­jor cli­mate agree­ments with the US,” said Hil­lard Hunt­ing­ton, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Stan­ford’s En­ergy Mod­el­ing Fo­rum. “China is shift­ing to­wards a low-car­bon eco­nomic fu­ture at the cen­tral, provin­cial and lo­cal lev­els of gov­ern­ment.”

But “one size may not fit all”, said Hunt­ing­ton. “Prov­inces and in­dus­tries may need to have dif­fer­ent tar­gets.”

He said re­gional in­ter­ests could com­pli­cate any univer­sal agree­ment to limit emis­sions, as uni­form re­duc­tions across re­gions will in­crease China’s costs be­cause high-cost ar­eas will be asked to match the ef­forts of low-cost re­gions.

“If tar­gets are greater in some ar­eas but min­i­mal in oth­ers, ‘leak­age’ may emerge,” he ex­plained.

Stephen Chu, for­mer US sec­re­tary of en­ergy

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