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
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
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.