What "green collaboration" might mean in practice

By James Fallows

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... "

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2009/11/what-green-collaboration-might-mean-in-practice/30325/