China and US sign up to 'ecopartnerships'

BEIJING // A dozen Chinese and US companies and institutions have inked “ecopartnership” agreements during strategic and economic talks that ended in Beijing on Tuesday. The projects cover areas such as energy saving technologies, cleaning wastewater from thermal electricity units and decreasing release of coal fired combustion emissions. Those involved in the projects include Caterpillar, […]

BEIJING // A dozen Chinese and US companies and institutions have inked “ecopartnership” agreements during strategic and economic talks that ended in Beijing on Tuesday.

The projects cover areas such as energy saving technologies, cleaning wastewater from thermal electricity units and decreasing release of coal fired combustion emissions.

Those involved in the projects include Caterpillar, Shanghai Lingang Economic Development Group, Chemical and Metal Technologies and SunPaper.

“The partnerships create new opportunities for American businesses to deliver and adapt their technologies to the dynamic environmental protection market in China,” Jost Wuebbeke, the head of the programme on economy and technology at the Berlin based of Mercator Institute of China Studies, told The National yesterday.

The latest move will help China to implement its goals to more than double its wind energy capacity, nearly treble its solar capacity and increase electric vehicles by a factor of 10 over the next few years, analysts said. China is investing more than twice as much in clean energy than the European Union.

“China has caught up to and overtaken the EU across a range of low carbon economic sectors, including clean energy investment, R&D spending, power transmission grids and production and sales of electric vehicles,” the London-based environmental think tank E3G said in a recent report.

Mr Wuebbeke said: “The ecopartnership projects provide new solutions to China’s most pressing environmental challenges, especially concerning resource efficiency achieved through remanufacturing and repurposing.”

Fergus Green, a climate policy consultant and a former policy analyst with the London-based Grantham Research Institute, said China and the US have gone beyond the Paris agreement on climate change by creating bilateral co-operation projects focusing on the technical side of greenhouse emissions and to try and resolve the problem.

“This cooperation will address essential challenges that include improving production processes and upgrading technologies for cutting emissions in highly polluting industries,” Mr Green said.

“The projects may seem to be small in themselves but they would serve the purpose of demonstrating and disseminating environment protection technologies in a structured manner.”

A collaboration between Caterpillar and Shanghai Lingang Economic Development will create a “smart” remanufacturing demonstration centre. The idea is to facilitate the analysis of energy saving and utilisation of remanufactured parts that can save up to 60 per cent in energy and material costs, official sources said.

“If successful, such cooperation … would help China to learn more about actually implementing its ambitious environmental targets,” Mr Wuebbeke said.

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