What "green collaboration" might mean in practice

As I never tire of mentioning, the big opportunity -- and challenge -- of the Obama Administration's interaction with China is finding ways for the countries to work together on climate, energy, and pollution issues. The countries are two of the main sources of the problem, as the two leading emitters in the world. And they're two of the main sources of solutions, China with its manufacturing ability and the U.S. with (we hope!) its R&D.

I am not equipped to judge how the slew of clean-energy initiatives prepared for approval at the Hu-Obama meeting will turn out in practice -- which ones are serious, which ones are for show. That's what I'll be asking my expert friends in the next while. But if you were wondering what US-China "cooperation" might mean in practice, here's a list of seven joint initiatives, announced today in Beijing. Convenient summary highlight below, with links that open up fact-sheet PDFs:

   1. US-China Clean Energy Research Center
   2. US-China Electric Vehicles Initiative
   3. US-China Energy Efficiency Action Plan
   4. US-China Renewable Energy Partnership
   5. 21st Century Coal
   6. Shale Gas Initiative
   7. US-China Energy Cooperation Program

I'll be asking my experts which of these is most plausible. Let's hope the answers begin, "Well, quite a few of them are... "

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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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