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Sino-US deal puts clean energy first

CHINA and the United States launched a joint research center yesterday to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and buildings.

"I know we can accomplish more by working together than we can by working alone," US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said at a press briefing with Chinese officials in Beijing.

Chu said the US and China would commit an initial US$15 million to the project, which would also focus on new technology to reduce and sequester carbon-dioxide emissions from burning coal.

Both countries depended heavily on coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and would likely do so for some time to come, he said.

Chu and US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, both Chinese-Americans, have focused on boosting clean energy cooperation with China on their first trip to the nation since joining US President Barack Obama's administration.

Cooperation between China and the US is considered essential if countries are to agree on a new international treaty to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions when they meet in Copenhagen in December.

"Both sides expressed the will to meet the global challenges to address climate change and the energy shortage," said Wan Gang, China's minister for science and technology.

Chu told Chinese State Counselor Liu Yandong yesterday that it was possible to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings four or five times "at the same price."

Working on "fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow" and other clean-energy projects would create millions of jobs in both countries, Chu said.


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