Green Signal for China-U.S. Green Cooperation

2024-02-28 11:53:00 Source:China Today Author:staff reporter ZHOU LIN
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Firms in China and the United States are now keen to explore green transition for greater collaboration and mutual benefit.  


Maintenance workers are repairing windmill blades of the Thrace wind project of China Energy Guohua Investment Europe Renewable Energy S.A., China’s first wind power project in Europe. The windmills can guarantee the annual electricity consumption of 30,000 households in Greece.  

With the fallouts of climate change becoming direr globally, pursuing green and sustainable economic growth has become a universal consensus. However, green transition requires the joint efforts of governments, social organizations, enterprises, and people across the globe. To facilitate collaboration, especially between China and the United States, the two largest economies and at times the biggest competitors, the China International Youth Exchange Center (CIYEC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) hosted a seminar for U.S. and Chinese enterprises on green development cooperation in Beijing on January 19, 2024.

The attendees shared their experiences in energy transition, green technology innovation, green supply chains, and circular economy. The discussions ranged from building an industrial chain with close collaboration among upstream and downstream enterprises to creating a green and sustainable business ecosystem and enhancing the competitiveness of green innovations. Cooperation among various stakeholders to create favorable conditions for a green transition was also a major topic.

Translating San Francisco Vision into Action 

“U.S. and Chinese enterprises have a broad space for cooperation. The Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis released after the San Francisco Summit (of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization) let us see big potential in green cooperation,” AmCham China President Michael Hart said. “We hope both sides can seize the opportunities to boost pragmatic collaboration and promote sound development of bilateral relations.”

The Sunnylands Statement issued by China and the United States on November 15, 2023 reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation and working together with other countries to address the climate crisis. They committed to accelerating climate actions and launching feasible cooperative plans and measures, such as restarting the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Forum, which is a public-private partnership to explore commercial opportunities in energy efficiency. They also agreed to recommence bilateral dialogue on energy policies and strategies.

Hart said AmCham China, with nearly 1,000 member companies in various industries, looks forward to more economic and trade cooperation with China as well as cultural exchanges and collaboration on climate change response. This can create innovative solutions and cooperative opportunities for green development, and also help global economic recovery.

Zhang Hua, director of the CIYEC, said with 2024 marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, he hoped enterprises in both countries would enhance mutual understanding and explore new paths through dialogue and communication as addressing climate change needs joint efforts from all sectors. Global climate governance has shifted from rule-making to taking action and Zhang hoped the San Francisco vision of sustainable cooperation would be translated into concrete action to create stable, healthy and sustainable bilateral economic and trade relations.

Chen Zhihua, deputy director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, said green innovation cooperation between China and the U.S. has facilitated the transition to a low-carbon economy. Reviving the China-U.S. Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action will deepen cooperation in green industry between enterprises of both sides and improve the quality of the circular economy and resource utilization efficiency.

Although China and the United States have different national conditions and different responsibilities in addressing climate change, the two countries share the same goal and so there are broad opportunities for further cooperation. Chen summarized the foundation for bilateral cooperation from four aspects:

Firstly, China and the United States have jointly promoted green and low-carbon transition and development globally, playing a major role in the signing and implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Secondly, China has become a pacesetter in addressing climate change. It has incorporated carbon peaking and carbon neutrality in its overall plan for economic and social development and for creating an eco-civilization.

Thirdly, restarting the China-U.S. Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action sends a clear political signal for China-U.S. climate cooperation. In the fields of energy, environment, and climate change, China and the United States have a history of cooperation for more than 30 years. Despite the complex and changing international environment, China and the United States should meet each other halfway.

Fourthly, enterprises from the two countries will have great potential in green development. Today, major countries are moving towards a green and low-carbon future, seizing the advantages of the low-carbon and zero-carbon technology revolution and industrial transformation. Therefore, the prospects for cooperation in climate change and new energy are very broad. China’s ambitious carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, combined with its huge market, will provide broad space for cooperation between Chinese and American enterprises.

Local employees are inspecting the wind turbine system on a wind farm in Greece. 

Seeking Green Innovation 

Wang Weijia, global vice president and general manager of Government Affairs for Greater China Dell Technologies, said going green is the main focus of future development and a new economic growth driver for all enterprises, whether in China, the United States, or other parts of the world.

Dell Technologies, a leading provider of technical support, digitization and sales services, looks forward to stronger bilateral cooperation in digital economy, artificial intelligence and green supply chain to promote resource conservation, intensification and recycling, which will build a greener and more sustainable partnership between Chinese and American enterprises, Wang said.

According to him, Dell Technologies is facilitating green transition in three ways: by promoting product recycling and low-carbon development to provide domestic customers with more green products; by providing more green solutions, such as the green data centers showcased at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2023 which used the Dell Edge smart cooling technology for servers for carbon reduction; and by supporting all enterprises in the supply chain and industrial chain in their green transition, promoting the circular economy through innovation, and implementing the major ideas into the entire business ecosystem.

Zhang Zhihao, deputy general manager and chief engineer of the comprehensive smart energy branch at Guohua Energy Investment Co., shared the experience of their new energy business. Guohua’s parent company is China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy), a state-owned energy enterprise. China Energy has eight business sectors, including the entire industry chain of coal, electricity, transportation, and chemicals. In recent years, they have focused on the strategic goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality and made renewable energy a priority.

Guohua’s businesses cover wind power, photovoltaics, hydrogen energy, and carbon asset trading. It has established a hydrogen energy supply system in China, including hydrogen refueling stations on highways and railways. Besides, the company is to build the largest carbon capture and storage project in Asia in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province this year, and looks forward to more cooperation with American companies. The company is also prioritizing the development of technology demonstration projects for broader cooperation through the breakthroughs made in these projects.

Empowering Young Entrepreneurs 

Both the CIYEC and AmCham China wish to build a cooperation platform for young entrepreneurs from the two countries and facilitate cultural exchanges between their young people.

Zhang Hua hoped for greater exchanges among young entrepreneurs and the establishment of a practical mechanism for them to take climate mitigation actions. This would bring stability and certainty to China-U.S. relations in a mutually beneficial and win-win manner, and make more contributions to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, he added.

Li Jing, sustainable development officer and head of the sustainable development department of JA Solar Technology Co., Ltd., a global photovoltaic enterprise that is also the first Chinese private enterprise to join the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, attended the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) convened in Dubai. As a young entrepreneur, Li has realized that the youth are becoming a crucial force in promoting green development and climate action.

The United States is a very important market for her company and a key area for expanding its manufacturing business overseas. At the beginning of 2023, JA Solar announced an investment of US $60 million to build a project of 2 GW PV module production capacity in Phoenix, Arizona. The U.S. factory is the first step taken by JA Solar to lay out its supply chain in the European and American markets, and also part of its global strategy, she said.

Li added that as a transnational enterprise, JA Solar needs to tell the story of its business expansion in an international language. Therefore, it proposed its development philosophy at COP27, which is “Green to Green, Green to Grow, Green to Great.” It’s a concept acceptable to both Chinese and foreigners, she said.

Zhang Hua called the youth the most creative and dynamic group in society and the future leaders who would address climate change. He hoped young Chinese and American entrepreneurs can increase mutual trust via dialogue and cooperation, and serve as a bridge for communication between the two countries.

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