WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today called on the United States to engage China on global energy issues, with a specific focus on developing technology to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
In a letter to President George W. Bush, Domenici reiterated his belief that the climate change issue cannot be solved unless China is an active partner with the United States. The Senator asked the Administration to report on the current state of collaborative efforts between the U.S. and China on energy issues, and to share what steps it plans to take to advance dialogue on energy.
“I have been advocating for quite some time the need for a U.S. climate change policy that engages the global economies, particularly China. I also think that both nations must have a balanced and diverse array of energy sources, including renewable, clean coal and nuclear energy,” Domenici wrote.
“By all indications, China will soon become the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Therefore, any meaningful, effective policy on climate change would have to involve China at the outset. We must engage China as a partner to jointly meet the challenge of advancing cost effective and successful technologies necessary to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions,” he continued.
Domenici’s letter echoed a theme he sounded at Thursday’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing regarding the future of coal. The Senator said that efforts to reduce carbon emissions from coal and other sources must include major emitters like China in order to be effective.
China currently uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. It has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired plant opens somewhere in China. By 2025, China is expected to emit twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States.
In his letter, Domenici pointed to a May visit by Chinese Premier Wu Yi as a good opportunity for Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and other Administration officials to continue dialogues that began last December in Beijing.