WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United
States and China on Tuesday signed eight partnership pacts to cut
greenhouse gases that will bring the world's two biggest carbon emitters
closer together on climate policy, but fundamental differences between
the two sides remain.
Consensus between the United States and China will be a crucial
part of any new global climate pact to replace the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol, but they have long struggled to come to an agreement on
how the costs of cutting greenhouse gases should be distributed
among rich and poor nations.
Speaking in Beijing during the latest round of the U.S.-China
Strategic and Economic Dialogue, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
said on Wednesday that the two sides remained committed to "close
dialogue" on climate change negotiations.
"The significance of these two nations coming together can't be
understated. We are working hard to find a solution together that
can have an impact on the rest of the world."
The deals, which involve companies and research bodies, were signed
in Beijing ahead of a two-day visit to China by top Obama
administration officials, including Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack
Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The signing was attended by Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China's
influential economic planner, the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC), Todd Stern, the lead U.S. climate treaty
negotiator at the U.S. State Department, Obama adviser John Podesta
and Lee Zak, director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
In one of the memoranda of understanding (MOUs), China's Huaneng
Clean Energy Research Institute, a subsidiary of state-owned power
company China Huaneng and Washington-based Summit Power Group agreed
to share information on clean coal power generation technology.
Huaneng is part of a Chinese consortium operating a 400-MW pilot
integrated gasification combined cycle plant in Tianjin.
Under the pact, Huaneng will share information with Summit Power,
which is expected to soon break ground on a similar project in Texas
after it secures engineering and procurement support from Petrochina
and Chinese engineering firm Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering.
The MOU is expected to be signed on Wednesday in Beijing.
Summit, in turn, will share information and technology for
recovering oil from captured carbon.
"This (pact) accelerates sharing of information on carbon capture
and storage for power," said Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant
Secretary for Clean Coal for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The partnership will be a boon to both countries, said Laura Miller,
a former mayor of Dallas who now manages the Texas Clean Energy
"We will be sharing expertise, years of development experience and
non-proprietary technology on both projects, all while making giant
steps forward for the world's environment," she said in an
Another project partners West Virginia University with Yanchang
Petroleum on an industrialized demonstration of ultra-cleaning
technology in northern Shaanxi province.
The University of Kentucky, another coal state university, will
partner with Shanxi Coal International Energy Group and Air Products
and Chemicals Inc on a project feasibility study for a 350MW
supercritical coal-fired power plant that can capture 2 million
tonnes of CO2 a year.
At a news briefing in the Chinese capital on Wednesday, the NDRC's
Xie welcomed the closer partnership of the world's top two CO2
emitters, but said more was needed in areas such as technological
"Developing countries are most concerned that they get funds and
technological support from developed countries," he said. "On this
issue, we are still having great difficulties and we have to put
forth more effort."
China has led the way in trying to persuade developed countries to
set up financing mechanisms to help poorer nations cut emissions and
adapt to climate change.
The issue remains a major stumbling-block in talks on a new global
accord, with the United States and others reluctant to commit funds.
Stern, the U.S. climate negotiator, said the United States didn't
disagree with China that there should be a differentiation in
responsibilities between developing and developed countries, but
that using old definitions for those labels established in 1992 was
a sticking point.
"I've had long and detailed conversations on this subject with vice
chairman Xie and others," he said. "We don't quarrel with the basic
Xie told Chinese media on Tuesday that wider two-way talks would
include a special high-level meeting on climate change, focused on
discussing domestic and international policies and possible
The U.S. delegation is in China for the sixth round of the
U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which are high-level
meetings on cooperation in areas from security to agriculture.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Kathy Chen and David
Stanway in Beijing; Editing by Ros Krasny, Clarence Fernandez and