The Academies of Sciences and Engineering in China and the United States convened this joint Committee on Cooperation in the Energy Futures of China and the United States (CCEF) to address these issues.
The primary audiences for the committee’s work are the governments of both countries, whose collaboration in science and technology, when initiated in 1978, became the foundation for meaningful interaction between the United States and China. The importance of this interaction has not been forgotten, nor has it diminished in the past two decades; on the contrary, more collaboration in science and technology between the two countries is being undertaken now than ever before.
The reason for this increase in international cooperative efforts has become apparent in recent years: each government understands that the actions taken within its national boundaries have impacts far from its borders. This is apparent with the globalization of our national economies, the global nature of technological innovation, the amount of attention being given to environmental change and resource sustainability, and the worldwide nature of the environment.
In the course of their interaction, the two governments have faced many difficulties, a reasonable expectation given the breadth of interests and views. The relationship between China and the United States is currently in a period of some tension over both political and economic issues. However, it is the firm belief of this committee that our common interests and the solutions to our problems lie in better understanding and an increased interaction between the two nations.
This committee worked to better address common needs and concerns in the energy sector. The committee conducted its work shortly after a series of meetings at the highest political levels in both governments, and this report attempts to capture the spirit of those interactions and assist in institutionalizing the many opportunities present in the energy sector.
The United States and China share a primary challenge of providing—in a period of projected growth—adequate and reliable energy services in both the near and long term while minimizing adverse health, economic, and environmental impacts associated with energy production and use. Components of this challenge include:
growing oil dependence, and in particular, increasing dependence on petroleum imports;
adverse local, regional, and global economic, health, and environmental implications of energy-related emissions, particularly from coal use;