China, U.S. may conduct strategic energy cooperation in four areas


Keynote Speech at China-U.S. Strategic Forum on Clean Energy Cooperation (First Session)
Zheng Bijian
Chairman of China Institute of Strategy and Management
22 October 2009

Dear friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,

China-U.S. Strategic Forum on Clean Energy Cooperation is inaugurated today. This forum, jointly held by China Institute of Strategy and Management(CISM) and U.S. Brookings Institution, takes place at a time between the U.N. Summit on Climate Change and the forthcoming China-U.S. Summit and the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change. It shows the concern and sense of responsibility of us ordinary people for the safety of the earth, and the active participation of our two non-governmental research institutions in the endeavor to tackle the global climate change through our studies in the energy field. Let me extend, on behalf of CISM, the Chinese host organization, our warm welcome and heartfelt appreciation to you all!

Our forum has two features: strategic research and practical cooperation. Its purpose is: first, to identify the strategy about clean energy of our two countries; second, to seek the convergence of the clean energy strategies of our two countries, and third, to promote practical cooperation between enterprises, regions and scientific research institutions of our two countries in clean energy. By “practical cooperation”, I mean presentation of a number of potential cooperative projects. I may say it is a combination of “knowledge” with “action”, and it is putting words into action. This is a distinct feature of our conference today.

This forum is blessed with the attention and guidance of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council. He had a cordial meeting with the main members of both delegations yesterday. Mr. Al Gore, former US Vice President, travelled a long distance here to attend this forum and delivered a wonderful speech last night. Today, Vice Premier Li Keqiang also delivered an important speech to the conference, explaining to us China’s energy development strategy and important measures envisaged for the near future. This forum also has the presence of Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), who will deliver a speech during lunch today. All this shows the importance of our forum.

This forum has gained full support and assistance from departments concerned of both the Chinese and U.S. governments as well as some major energy provinces (states) of both countries. We are very honored to be joined by Mr. You Quan, Deputy Secretary General of State Council and Mr. Zhang Guobao, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission and Chairman of the National Energy Administration. Speakers of this forum include Mr. Liu He, Deputy Director of the General Office of Central Finance and Economic Leading Team, Mr. Wu Yin, Deputy Chairman of the National Energy Administration from the Chinese side and Mr. David Sandalow, assistant Secretary at the US Energy Department as well as Mr. Lu Hao, Secretary of CPC Committee of Gansu Province, Mr. Han Changbin, Governor of Jilin Province and Mr. Luo Baoming, Governor of Hainan Province. This also shows the importance of our forum.

Prestigious scholars and key executives of major enterprises from China and the United States are taking part in this forum. They will offer their views on macro-strategic issues and discuss ways, methods and specific projects of cooperation. This further shows the importance of our forum.

In brief, our forum provides a high level platform for Chinese and American officials, scholars and business people to discuss both strategies and actions. I believe that it will give a dynamic push to strategic cooperation in energy from the non-governmental side and explore concrete and effective ways for such cooperation.

Now, I would like to share my thoughts with you on China-U.S. practical cooperation in clean energy.

I. The Historical and International Context of
Clean Energy Strategies of China and the United States

The hot topic of the world today is how to integrate peaceful development with civilized development. While pondering over the question of peaceful development, far-sighted people are seriously thinking about civilized development and the relevant concept, ways and means to ensure and promote the peaceful development of the world. Herein lies many complicated questions. One of them was actually raised in late last century and began to draw the public attention at the beginning of this century. It concerns the building of conservation culture in the first half of the 21st century unprecedented in depth and width, a revolution that is closely linked with energy, environment and climate.

This surely is a great undertaking bearing on the future and fate of mankind. It will bring about significant changes in the relationship between man and nature and tremendous progress in human civilization. It will also put to severe test different economic and social development models and development strategies of countries of different political systems and at different economic levels. In this context and out of urgent need to ensure energy security and to address the challenge of global warming, the issues of energy, clean energy in particular, environment and climate change come to the fore in the current international competition and cooperation and become the centre of a country’s development strategy.

Since he assumed office, President Obama has made energy and climate change as one of the three priorities of his administration. He has urged legislation in related areas and undertaken to observe a time table and the percentage of reduction of greenhouse gas emission. This is an adjustment of great significance that follows the world trend of peaceful and civilized development.

In the 60 years since the founding of the PRC, especially in the 30 years since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy, China, as a late comer in modernization, has clearly defined the importance of the energy and environment issue in our development strategy. In the new century, with China’s economic development, pressure from resources and environment is creasing. To quicken the pace of clean energy development is therefore essential for China’s peaceful development. For this reason, we have systematically elaborated on our new type of industrialization with Chinese characteristics and the path of civilized development featuring economic growth, prosperity and sound eco-environment. It has also set forth a scientific outlook on development that is people centered, comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable and the general policy on promoting conservation culture. To this end, a series of strategic measures have been taken to optimize industrial structure, transform development mode and consumption habit. Not long go, at the U.N. Summit on Climate Change, President Hu Jintao again explained to the international community China’s strategy on promoting conservation culture and made the serious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emission, raise the percentage of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and increase forest coverage.

As we can see, on the question of clean energy strategy and the promotion of conservation culture, both China and the United States has set the goal, direction and path that comply with the world trend and stand at the forefront of the world. They also point to the direction of more intensified energy cooperation between our two countries.

II. The Convergence of Interests and Areas of
Practical Cooperation Between China and the United States in Implementing Their Clean Energy Strategies

China and the United States have different national conditions. We are at different stages of development and have different energy structure and consumption level. Nevertheless, we face the same challenges of global climate change, and find ourselves in similar position concerning international energy resources. Therefore, we have shared interest in promoting clean energy strategy. With this basic assessment, I believe that it is not only necessary but also possible for China and the United States to transcend our differences in strategy of energy and environment development and enter into strategic and practical cooperation. For the present, and some time to come, we may at least conduct strategic cooperation in the following four areas:

1. Energy saving and energy efficiency. In recent years, both China and the United States have set a number of biding quotas for reducing energy intensity. Our two countries have made significant investment in developing buildings of super low energy consumption, highly energy efficient means of transportation, highly efficient grid technology, etc. There exists a great potential for our bilateral strategic cooperation.

2. Develop and apply clean coal technology. Both our two countries are the biggest consumers of coal. China is working on the application and dissemination of technologies of super-critical power generation, IGCC and carbon capture, sequestration and storage. The United States has experience and long term R&D in clean coal technology. There is a good prospect for strategic cooperation in this area.

3. Development of new energy resources and renewable energy. Following their respective grand strategies, both China and the United States are putting enormous fund and R&D resources in the application of wind, solar and bio power technology. Nuclear power is the priority in China’s new energy development strategy. In this area, the United States has leading nuclear power technology. There is a great deal of business opportunities.

4. Security of the international energy market. In the first half of the 21st century, even if our two countries fulfill our respective goals of energy conservation and emission reduction, we shall remain the major fuel importers in the world for a long time to come. It is therefore extremely necessary for us to strengthen our strategic cooperation in protecting the security of the international energy market; promoting a stable international energy pricing regime and consolidating energy security safeguard system.

If China and the United States can begin clean energy cooperation in the above four areas, and if more areas of shared strategic interests to be expanded in the future can gradually be translated into mutually beneficial and marketable cooperative projects, then we can say our cooperation is sustainable and dynamic.

III. The Significance of This Forum from the Perspective of
China’s Development Path to Peaceful Rise and the
Positioning of China-U.S. Relations

When I visited the United States, I said on several occasions that China’s peaceful rise will face three challenges, namely, resources(energy resources in particular), environment(ecological environment in particular) and economic-social problems. The first two challenges happen to be the subjects we are discussing today: energy, ecological environment and climate change. Now I would like to carry the point further. In the world’s efforts to protect our common home and build conservation culture, the way our two countries act to enforce our respective energy strategies and the way we interact with each other on the energy issue have a bearing on China’s peaceful rise, on further growth of the United States, and on the peaceful and civilized development of the world.

As you can see, China is devoting great efforts to low-carbon economy and green development focusing on energy technology innovation, development and application. At home, we reject unrestrained consumption of energy resources and pollution of the eco-environment. Abroad, we adhere to peaceful and civilized development and stand for all-directional cooperation of mutual benefit with other countries and regions rather than taking away energy resources of other countries by plunder or means of war. This is the only alternative for China in tackling the energy and environment challenges in the first half of the 21st century, as well as the guarantee for China’s peaceful rise as an emerging country.

One may also see that practical cooperation in energy between China, the biggest developing country, and the United States, the biggest developed country, is an important aspect of the “positive, cooperative and comprehensive” relationship between the two countries. Stronger and deeper energy cooperation between China and the United States is sure to constantly propel our mutually beneficial relations and common development, and contribute to the building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

In short, only by putting our whole relationship in a strategic perspective, can we have practical cooperation, and only by constantly deepening and expanding our practical cooperation, can we ensure stable and lasting development of our relations as a whole.

That is why we would like to stress “practical cooperation” and “strategy” for our forum.

So this is the keynote of my speech.

Thank you!