Both the United States and China will gain from the concrete energy deals on coal and environment technology collaboration, analysts say.
"The agreements reached between US and China on energy cooperation are supposed to address specific issues, including clean coal technologies, coalbed methane utilization and environmental technology development.
"It's really a giant leap for the two countries to convert energy-related cooperative intentions into concrete deals that will take immediate effect and benefit both sides," said Niu Li, an economist with the State Information Center.
The center is affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.
Concluding the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, the two countries agreed to develop up to 15 large-scale coal mine methane capture and utilization projects in China over the next five years.
The two countries will also create policy incentives to promote the commercialization of advanced coal technologies while facilitating the commercial application of carbon capture and storage technologies, according to a Reuters report.
The two sides decided to work together as part of the WTO Doha negotiations to discuss reducing or eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.
Since coal accounts for more than two-thirds of China's energy consumption and the US boasts the world's largest coal reserves, there is room for the two to join forces in developing clean coal technologies and utilization projects, Niu said.
"It will be a win-win situation for both the US and China to cooperate in this area. China needs advanced coal technology to enhance energy efficiency, while the US wants to sell this kind of technology. More importantly, the joint effort is supposed to ease China's dependence on oil and to reduce the country's greenhouse emission from burning conventional coal products," Niu said.
Sun Maoyuan, president of China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd, reckoned that the US is a leader in coalbed methane capturing and utilization, with advanced technologies that China needs to further tap the resource.
"We can cooperate with US counterparts to boost our capability in coalbed methane capture and utilization. In fact, our US counterparts have an upper hand in both capital and technology," Sun said.
The US captures and utilizes 50 to 53 billion cubic meters of coalbed methane every year, compared to China's 2 billion, shows statistics from Sun's company.
China started to tap coalbed methane in the 1990s. Established in 1996, China United Coalbed Methane has exclusive rights to launch Sino-foreign joint projects to capture and develop coalbed methane.
(China Daily May 25, 2007)