Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

How can U.S. cooperates with China to reduce global warming?

Global climate change is a major issue which no one can ignore. China and the United States are the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, each accounting for over 20% of global emissions by 2009. Maybe the problem is no longer whether U.S. should cooperate with China or vice versa. The vital problem is how to corporate. How to come up with an acceptable ways for both countries to address climate challenges?


On February 3, 2009, at the Harvard Fairbank Center, University of Michigan Business School Professor Kenneth Lieberthal gives this lecture on the seminar entitled “Increasing U.S.-China Cooperation to Address Global Climate Change.”


Dr. Lieberthal served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Asia on the National Security Council from August 1998 to October 2000. His government responsibilities encompassed American policy toward all issues involving Northeast, East, and Southeast Asia.


Kenneth Lieberthal suggested that Sino-US cooperation is so necessary to be the most urgent issue of senior leaders of the two countries. Besides, he also made nine recommendations to reduce the political obstacles to such cooperation.


Lieberthal made the nine recommendations to the leaders of two countries.


First, the two leaders have publicly acknowledged the other’s view is reasonable. U.S. leaders should recognize the total emissions in U.S. history is enormous; China’s economic growth has only just started, per capita emissions still small, the Chinese people have the right to pursue their ideal lifestyle, the United States cannot and should be limited to China growth rate.


Secondly, establish clean energy, energy conservation, the framework of the agreement to reduce emissions of climate change and energy as part of the framework agreement.


Third, focus on the establishment of two or three specific cooperation projects, with a demonstration effect. Chinese Foreign Ministry’s caliber has always been, “you money, the technology we use your (state) money to buy your (private) emissions reduction technology, you enjoy the benefits of environmental protection.” This idea is in the United States Congress absolutely does not work, cannot implement anything. Lieberthal said that when he and Chinese scientists communicate with each other, their tone and point of view is very different, more practical, more concrete, and more feasible.


Fourth, develop technology. The United States deal with some of the basic technology of carbon dioxide, such as carbon sequestration technologies, but do not have much combat experience and experience. In this regard, China has a huge demand and market, so there is great room for cooperation. If the Government can take the lead and private investment, public-private cooperation model, then the potential. And this is not “you give me some good, I give you the benefits of (give-and-take approach)” a simple exchange, but in the true sense of cooperation.


Fifth, offer more and more local communication and cooperation (for example, between Chinese cities and U.S. cities), to share successful experiences, replication of successful practices.


Sixth, to help China strengthen its ability to govern from the center to facilitate information flow between the local five-story governments increased transparency, so that the central government really understands the actual needs and problems in the operation.


Seventh, in the international negotiations, find common ground between the United States. For example, in Copenhagen in December of last year, if the two countries can be reached before this fall’s consensus on some principles, it will increase the likelihood of success in Copenhagen. This consensus may include a step of reduction steps, rather than the set as before until a certain emission reduction targets.


Eighth, make use of the existing agreements. For example, the former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has done a lot of work in this area.


Ninth, in the bilateral summit, make the clean energy on the agenda of the prominent position. Sino-US summit this year in 45 multilateral international conferences have the opportunity to meet; they are usually arranged during the meeting about an hour the opportunity of bilateral talks.

Gilbert Shi

Partly from another book





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