Energy Technology Innovation Policy in the Backdrop of the U.S.-China Emissions Agreement: Workshop Report

Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard Univ.

[Background]  In November 2014, the U.S. and Chinese governments made an historic joint announcement committing their countries to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama announced a new target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and President Xi Jinping announced targets to peak China’s CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to peak earlier and to decrease the share of energy from fossil fuels. The U.S. and China account for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and as the joint announcement demonstrates, cooperative action to address climate change now appears politically feasible. Furthermore, it is hoped that the joint U.S.-China announcement will lead to broader cooperative efforts that will inspire a more effective and ambitious climate agreement at the December 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the parties in Paris.

Energy technological innovation is featured prominently in the U.S.-China joint announcement. The two governments announced six U.S.-China collaborative efforts and a series of domestic measures. Four of the six collaborative efforts are focused on accelerating research and development in low-carbon technologies (the other two are focused on encouraging technology diffusion and best policy practices)…

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