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July 10, 2014

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China, US commit to environment projects

CHINA and the United States yesterday took steps toward their shared goal of fighting climate change, but the sides remain far apart on a global plan to cut carbon emissions.

China’s chief climate official Xie Zhenhua said the nation should not be subject to the same rules for greenhouse gas emissions as the US and other developed countries, and that Beijing will oppose attempts to impose them on China at next year’s world climate conference.

Consensus between the US and China will be a crucial part of a climate pact to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but they have long struggled to come to an agreement on how the costs of cutting greenhouse gases should be distributed among rich and poor nations.

Differences on the global plan aside, the two countries yesterday announced eight joint projects to improve fuel efficiency and other standards to cut greenhouse gases.

At a news briefing in Beijing, Xie welcomed the closer partnership of the world’s top two CO2 emitters, but said more was needed in areas such as technological cooperation.

“Developing countries are most concerned that they get funds and technological support from developed countries,” he said. “On this issue, we are still having great difficulties and we have to put forth more effort.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that the two sides remained committed to “close dialogue” on climate change negotiations.

“The significance of these two nations coming together can’t be understated. We are working hard to find a solution that can have an impact on the rest of the world.”

The deals, which involve companies and research bodies, were signed in Beijing ahead of the two-day talks.

In one of the memoranda of understanding, China’s Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute — a unit of state-owned power company China Huaneng — and the US-based Summit Power Group agreed to share information on clean coal power generation technology.

Huaneng is part of a consortium operating a 400-MW pilot integrated gasification combined cycle plant in Tianjin.

Under the pact, it will share information with Summit Power, which is expected to soon break ground on a similar project in Texas. Summit, in turn, will share information and technology for recovering oil from captured carbon.

“This accelerates the sharing of information on carbon capture and storage for power,” said Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant Secretary for Clean Coal at the US Energy Department.

Another project partners Yanchang Petroleum with West Virginia University on an industrialized demonstration of ultra-cleaning technology in China’s Shaanxi Province.

The University of Kentucky, another coal state university, will partner with Shanxi Coal International Energy Group and Air Products and Chemicals Inc on a project feasibility study for a 350MW supercritical coal-fired power plant that can capture 2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.


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