Even more on US-China climate cooperation


It can seem odd when something you've been expecting for years actually starts to occur.* Since practically the first discussion I had in China in mid-2006, I've been hearing that the US and China "had to" or "would soon" work together to deal with energy/environment issues, given that they are now the two most-polluting countries in the world. With the change of Administration in the US, it does indeed seem to be happening. At least, talk about it is happening -- including from Hillary Clinton, on her visit here this weekend -- with specifics on what the countries should do next.

(Subtle reminder of why this would be useful: a recent view of Beijing:)

I've previously mentioned the Asia Society/Pew and Brookings proposals for US-Chinese cooperation. Here is another one, from the National Resources Defense Council, which has been doing environmental work in and with China for a long time. As a bonus, here is the summary of its 9-point action plan:

1. Engage in serious bilateral meetings on climate change and address the key sticking
points to reaching meaningful agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009
2. Establish a US-China forum on climate change strategies that promote green jobs and
economic recovery
3. Mobilize the untapped potential of energy efficiency
4. Assist in the deployment of renewable energy sources and technologies
5. Promote low-carbon, high-efficiency vehicles, fuels, transportation systems, and
community development
6. Expand research and investment on carbon capture and storage technology
7. Improve greenhouse gas emissions monitoring and data transparency
8. Conduct co-benefit analysis on GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions controls
9. Invest in regular exchanges and sharing of expertise to improve enforcement of
environmental law and energy efficiency standards.

The full report spells out steps toward each of these goals. Like the others, worth reading and putting into action sometime soon.
* And I'm not even talking about the long-predicted current financial meltdown.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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