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Sino-US biofuel agreement in the works
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China and the United States are drafting a biofuel agreement that will likely be signed in December, a visiting US senior energy official said on Friday. It will focus on sharing knowledge and technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


"We have not concluded a biofuel agreement yet ... we have a biofuel agreement draft circulating between the United States and China and we expect progress in the coming weeks," said Alexander Karsner, US Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.


"We have concluded an agreement for exchanging expertise, technical assistance and technology development on energy efficiency. That agreement is mature and we are now moving to implementation," he said.


"Through our agreement with China, we hope to transfer this knowledge and expertise," said Karsner, who met with officials from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, on "energy environmental matters".


"We had a very productive, lengthy and engaging dialogue on a wide range of issues, things of mutual concern like energy markets, global climate change, price of oil and studies of science and technology between the two countries," said Karsner of his meeting with Zhang Guobao, the NDRC deputy head.


"The efficiency of the cooperation, even prior to the implementation of the protocols, has yielded very good results already."


Karsner added how to elevate the role of clean energy technology and accelerate the outcomes and impacts of clean energy technology in the two countries topped the discussion.


The United States and Brazil, the world's leading ethanol producers accounting for 70 percent of global production, signed a memorandum of understanding in March agreeing to forge a strategic alliance to promote the production and consumption of biofuels worldwide.


China, the world's third largest ethanol producer, would be the first Asian country to ink the biofuel agreement with the United States.


Karsner said the US government had a goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent over 10 years.


"In other words, we have a mandated fuel standard of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels to be used by 2017."


To cut carbon discharge, China has set targets to boost the proportion of renewable energy to 16 percent of all energy consumption by 2020 from the current seven percent level.


"I do not want to prejudge (the biofuel agreement), but I am confident about that," Karsner said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 17, 2007)


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