Last week, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke visited Beijing. Much of their discussion with Chinese officials, as well as the focus of Secretary Chu’s speech at Tsinghua University, revolved around climate change and preparation for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. Both the NY Times and the Associated Press
reported on Chu and Locke’s visit. During their visit, the U.S. and China agreed to jointly fund the Clean Energy Joint Research Center, with $15 million provided up front.
While the Clean Energy Joint Research Center is certainly a step in the right direction, especially in light of the technical capacity issues that China currently faces in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, talks between China and the U.S. on a potential agreement on climate change have still not progressed forward. Copenhagen is less than five months away and it appears that the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have made little progress in coming to any agreement. China still continues to maintain trade barriers to U.S. clean energy companies, shielding their own nascent clean energy industry from global competition, and potentially hindering its own technological capacity. However, with the new tariff provision in the House’s Clean Energy Bill, the U.S. has less standing to argue against China’s protectionist policies.
In similarly frustrating turn of events, Indian officials, in an unexpected statement to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to India, announced today that they remain opposed to any binding requirements on developing nations to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
Have climate change talks stalled?