U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs Karen A. Harbert and Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Jeffrey Jarrett were in China last week to discuss energy cooperation between the United States and China. In Hangzhou, Assistant Secretary Harbert participated in the second round of talks under the U.S. - China Energy Policy Dialogue to promote global energy security, protect the environment, and encourage economic growth and trade between the nations. In Beijing, Assistant Secretary Jarrett signed five-year agreement extensions with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to cooperate and share information in areas critical to improving energy security and environmental protection.

“As the world’s largest consumers of energy, the U.S. and China must seize the opportunity to expand our energy mix and employ innovative technological solutions that hold the promise of addressing energy security and environmental challenges while sustaining economic growth,” Harbert said. “Cooperation between our two countries to meet today’s energy challenges will assist in the transformation of how both countries produce and consume energy.”

The U.S. - China Energy Policy Dialogue between DOE and China’s National Development and Reform Commission was created in 2004 as a forum to discuss areas for energy cooperation between the two countries. During the Dialogue meetings, Assistant Secretary Harbert and her Chinese counterparts discussed key energy policy issues, such as the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, China’s goals under their 11th five-year plan, and other energy efficiency, resource conservation, and renewable energy programs, including development of biofuels in both countries.

Through the Dialogue, the two countries will share information on energy security measures, such as strategic petroleum reserves, energy policies, and strategies to draw needed investment in infrastructure development and expansion. The Dialogue also provides a forum to exchange views on a variety of energy issues of mutual concern including the efficacy of market and regulatory measures to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

Harbert also traveled to Beijing where she will meet with officials of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology as well as with China’s Atomic Energy Authority. While there, she will take part in an industry roundtable with the U.S.-China Business Council.

Jarrett and Vice Minister Shang Yong of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology signed renewals of existing agreements for five years extending ongoing cooperation and information sharing in power systems technology; oil and gas technology; energy and environmental control technologies; and climate science. An existing agreement on clean fuels technology, which includes coal-to-liquids and hydrogen, was discussed but was not in need of extension.

"The U.S. and China are taking a clear leadership position in a worldwide effort to come to practical and constructive terms on the need for energy security and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that stem from global energy use,” Jarrett said. “Through international activities like the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, we are making real progress."

The agreements between the U.S. and China set out specific areas of activity aimed at improving oil and gas supply, deploying cleaner more efficient energy technologies for the nation’s coal reserves, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through advanced pollution controls.