During her 2-day visit to Beijing on the final leg of her first official tour of Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made U.S.-Chinese cooperation on clean energy a centerpiece of her meetings with Chinese officials.
"Climate change is an epic challenge," said Senior Climate Negotiator Todd Stern. "Scientists have been warning us about this threat for many years. And mounting evidence suggests that, if anything, scientists have underestimated the seriousness of the threat, not the other way around. In our view, nothing is more important for dealing with this threat than a U.S.-China partnership turning their full attention to it," he said.
The U.S. and China are already collaborating on research projects and some joint ventures, such as the utilization of U.S. "green" technologies in Chinese industry.
It's a good beginning, said Secretary Clinton, with much more to come in the near future:
"The United States and China will build an important partnership to develop and employ clean energy technologies designed to speed our transformation to low-carbon economies. These technologies are essential, both to spur sustainable economic growth, in our countries, and to contain the increasingly urgent problem of global climate change."
China is in the latter stages of transition from an agrarian society to an industrial nation. But with industrialization comes heavy use of energy. Secretary Clinton said she hopes that China will not make the same mistakes made by Europe and the United States during this stage in their development. Secretary Clinton said that back then, we didn’t know any better. But now we're smart enough to have the right kind of growth. And it is vitally important that China learn from our mistakes, and benefit from the technological advances and know-how developed since then, because if it does not, "we would overload our environment with carbon-based emissions," she said.
"We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat, and, thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction," said Secretary Clinton.