U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu pledged Thursday to boost clean energy cooperation with China.
"We are going to develop ideas (with China), such as how to build energy-efficient buildings, how to build cleaner power plants, especially the use of cleaner coal," Chu told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
He cited the technology of carbon capture and sequestration that would help to cut emissions of carbon dioxide generated in coal-fueled power plants.
"If we developed those ideas, then China can use these ideas in China and we could use these ideas in America" which would eliminate the need to pay the tariff because they could produce all the energy-saving products in domestic factories, Chu said.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the China-U.S. agreement on scientific and technology cooperation. Chu's three-day China tour would focus on research on environment-friendly "clean" energy, he said.
Chu defended a U.S. congress bill to levy the so-called carbon tariff on imports from countries that have no statutory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last month, which contained tough provisions to impose carbon tariffs in a bid to ensure that U.S. companies would not lose competitive advantage.
The bill was not designed to establish trade barriers, but to encourage green economies in other states, Chu said.
China, along with other countries, has voiced objections to the carbon tax, saying it was a new kind of trade protectionism under the guise of preventing climate change.
The construction of trade barriers "isn't really good to many many things and isn't good for the overall prosperity of all the countries involved," he said.
Chu, a Chinese American, urged China to step up its efforts in cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
"The United States and China are two great countries and we are emitting together 42 percent of the carbon dioxide of the world," he said.
The stances of China, the largest developing country, and the United States, the biggest industrialized state, on the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions were crucial for the United Nations' climate change conference, which was slated for December in Denmark's capital Copenhagen.
A new agreement on climate change is expected to be ironed out at the conference to replace the Kyoto Protocol that set a limit for developed countries' greenhouse gas emissions, but will expire this year.
The principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", a stance held by most developing countries on the reducing of greenhouse gas emissions, was "a sound one", Chu said.
The developing countries, with much lower per capita carbon emissions than the industrialized states, were urging developed nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide technology and assistance to jointly cope with climate change.
"Should we respect those developing countries whose standard of living was much poorer?... Should they have a right to do that? Absolutely correct," Chu said.
"But I think it is possible for even a developing country to gain prosperity and to have a better living standard and wealth for its people and still decrease their carbon emissions," he said.
Along with Chu, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke was also here to meet Chinese trade and energy officials, as well as Chinese leaders to discuss cooperation on energy and climate change.
"We are both Cabinet officials in President Obama's administration and we are both Chinese Americans as well. Our roots are in China," Chu said.
"I'm a friend of Secretary Locke so we said we should go together (to Beijing)...This visit shows the world how important the U.S.-China relationship really is," he said.
Chu and Locke Thursday together visited the U.S. Future House, a pioneer energy-efficient building in a model park funded by the Chinese government and foreign embassies in northern Beijing.
Chu applauded the green-energy projects in the Future House, including a solar panel that generates electricity for the two-floor American-style wooden house, and the energy-saving heating and water recycling systems.
In the 400-square-meter home, Chu pointed at an LED lamp and said he was looking for such products in the United States.
"He asked me whether the lighting system in the house was made or designed in the United States, but I told him, no, it's all made in China and we hold the intellectual property rights. He was a little bit surprised and nodded," said Chai Guosheng, president of the Cnlight Co. Ltd, China's largest producer of energy-efficient lights and a contractor of the house.
"It set a new standard of construction, will benefit not only China and the United States, but also every other country," Locke said on his one-hour tour.
Locke also visited a Wal-Mart store that had energy-saving systems in downtown Beijing's Wangjing District.
Chu and Locke arrived in Beijing on Tuesday afternoon for discussions with China on climate change and clean energy.
(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2009)