A Visit to China
China's rapidly growing economy, its need to meet mounting energy demand, and its increasing greenhouse gas emissions have raised interest in energy efficiency among Chinese government officials. In November 2005, Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) Director Mark Levine and several other EETD members accompanied Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Director Steven Chu on a week-long visit to China to discuss energy efficiency.
Levine is a frequent visitor to China. In addition to his responsibilities as EETD Director, he leads EETD's China Energy Group and advises the Chinese government on how to increase the role of energy efficiency in China's economy. The EETD staff members who accompanied Chu and Levine were Lynn Price, Nan Zhou, Nathaniel Aden, and Joe Huang.
The purpose of the first meeting with Chinese scientists and researchers was to discuss the current state of sustainable energy technology development in China as part of an InterAcademy Council study of how the world can make a transition to carbon-neutral, sustainable energy systems that Director Chu is co-leading with Jose Goldemberg of Brazil. Topics for discussion included energy energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy sources, and carbon-neutral energy sources.
"We spent two days in discussions with the Chinese on energy technologies," says Levine. "These were discussions, not presentations, so it was possible to get some insight into their perceptions of the issues with these technologies." Levine also participated in three days of meetings with the Energy Foundation's China Sustainable Energy Program, an annual event. "The program is a unique one; it funds Chinese, U.S., and European energy analysts to study energy efficiency and renewable energy policy in China. I helped create this program, and we receive some funding from it for our own research," says Levine.
Chu delivered a talk on optimizing clean and efficient energy technologies, Levine spoke on the need to dramatically increase energy efficiency investment in China, and Lynn Price spoke on international best practices related to environmental policies for industry. They were on the program with former President George Bush and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Schwarzenegger was there to establish closer trade relations between China and California.
Levine found the Energy Foundation meeting valuable, explaining that, "We had a chance to engage the Ministry of Finance in energy issues; this is typically difficult to do under normal circumstances. Many representatives of the Ministry of Finance at this meeting were showing an interest in energy and energy efficiency as a way to help meet some of China's energy goals. This is crucial at the present time as energy demand has been outstripping economic growth for the past several years after 20 years of significant success for energy efficiency."
Levine notes that "both sets of meetings help us further goals that we have in our China Energy Group, to point out to the Chinese government where there might be problems right now in energy-efficiency investment and how they might be corrected. These meetings also help meet lab goals because they will help the world achieve a transition to a sustainable energy society; improving energy efficiency in China is an essential ingredient in meeting this goal."
For more information, contact:
- Lynn Price
- (510) 486-6519; Fax (510) 486-6996