China and the US collaborating in the fight against climate change? Impossible? And yet, after years of public stand-offs, the world's two largest planet warmers – with 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions between them – last week reached a ground-breaking deal in Washington DC. Both countries are keen on quick fixes for greenhouse gases other than CO2. They will phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used as refrigerants, and harmonize vehicle emissions standards. That will include smoke emissions from large trucks, which also damage human lungs. Observers said the biggest advance by the US-China Working Group on Climate Change was an agreement to work together to find commercial uses for CO2 captured from power plants – rather than letting it loose or storing it. The deal includes a promise to build large-scale demonstration projects. "The focus on carbon capture and utilization is important," says Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development in Washington DC. It could push forward schemes to use CO2 in cement, he said. "Storing CO2 in our highways and buildings is smart technology and smart business."
The two countries also pledged to collaborate on smart power grids that can make greater use of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, and to identify the top ten energy efficiency technologies before their next meeting in October.
Kemo D. 7