November 17, 2007 (AP) – The United States and China are working on a pact to promote use of ethanol and other biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could announce an agreement as early as next month, an American official said Friday.
The agreement would call for cooperation in research, producing crops for fuel and other areas, said Alexander Karsner, an assistant U.S. energy secretary. He was in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on promoting use of renewable energy sources.
The United States and China are the world’s biggest oil consumers and producers of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists say trap the sun’s heat and are raising global temperatures.
Karsner said he and Chinese officials talked about a meeting next month in Indonesia of environment officials from 80 countries to discuss a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol on emissions reductions. He said he did not bring up Washington’s insistence that Beijing, a major emissions source, accept binding limits. China has rejected emissions caps but says it will try to curb gas production.
A biofuels agreement could be announced at the Dec. 12 meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue, a high-level U.S.-Chinese forum on trade and other issues, Karsner said. He declined to give details, saying they still are being discussed.
It would be Washington’s first such pact in Asia, following similar agreements with Brazil and Sweden, Karsner told reporters.
“China is a natural, as would be India, to enhance cooperation on biofuels,” he said.
China has promoted wind power and other alternative energy in hopes of reducing environmental damage from heavy use of coal and oil to fuel its booming economy. The communist government also wants to curb reliance on imported energy, which it sees as a strategic weakness.
China already is the third-largest producer of biofuels after the United States and Brazil, which account for 80 percent of global production, according to Karsner.