Senators Applaud Historic U.S.-China Clean Energy Agreements

Increased cooperation will generate economic growth, U.S. jobs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today hailed agreements reached by the United States and China including greater energy efficiency, expansion of renewable energy, acceleration of electric vehicle development, advancement of clean coal technologies, promotion of shale gas production, and creation of a joint clean-energy research center.  Seven initiatives set out by President Obama and President Hu in Beijing yesterday represent the building blocks of a comprehensive bilateral agreement on clean energy between the two countries.  In February, Senators Cantwell and Murkowski wrote to President Obama along with 13 other Senators asking that the administration take bold new steps to promote better cooperation and coordination between the United States and China on clean energy. 


“Although our two great nations account for over 40 percent of global carbon pollution, combining our two markets will be one of the greatest forces in accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.”  Cantwell said.  “President Obama codified a win-win opportunity today by establishing a robust clean energy partnership between the U.S. and China.”


“Economic opportunities through jointly pursued, technological innovation are easier to advance than policies that could decrease the competitiveness of any one country,” Murkowski said. “Reaching  climate change agreements like this one, rather than dwelling on whether domestic legislation or a binding international agreement will come first, is an important and more achievable step in moving toward a cleaner energy future.”


The U.S. and China are the world's largest producers, consumers, and importers of energy, accounting for 36 percent of the world’s primary energy use and 41 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. By working together through research, adoption of pollution abatement technologies, and much increased efficiency in energy usage for transport and housing, the two countries are positioned to lead the way in defining the new energy markets that will generate economic growth and cut emissions.


The economic dynamics promoting cooperation are clear.  The great size of the U.S. and Chinese energy markets means that new products can benefit from economies of scale through the early adoption of new, clean technology by some of the largest producers in the world.  China is a large and growing market for energy and environmental products.  The United States is a leader in both industries.  Increased cooperation will result in new markets for U.S. goods and services, resulting in strong growth in U.S. exports to China. 


“Effective leadership in this area means we can turn clean technology into jobs for Washingtonians,” Cantwell said. “Washington is a center for production of the technology, hardware, and software that will power clean tech trade.  With its advanced industries, ports and transport links, Washington state is particularly well-situated to gain from the much increased emphasis on clean energy.”


Cantwell was in Beijing in early September to discuss clean energy and intellectual property issues with Chinese officials.  In her discussion with China’s top climate change official, Cantwell pushed for a deal between the world’s two biggest polluters to lead the way in Copenhagen next month and build global confidence in the effort to address global warming.