Climate Action

U.S. and China reach “clean coal” deal

The United States and China agreed a deal on "clean coal" technologies on Tuesday and the move could significantly reduce the fuel's impact on climate change

  • 27 August 2015
  • William Brittlebank

The United States and China agreed a deal to develop "clean coal" technologies on Tuesday and the move could significantly reduce the fuel's impact on climate change.

The agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and China's National Energy Administration (NEA) will see the two countries share research as they develop technologies to capture the greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning coal.

The deal will include work on six advanced carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) pilot projects in China, research and development under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, and the joint Fossil Energy Protocol signed in 2000.

Details of the agreement were finalised on Tuesday and the deal will be signed in September, according to officials.

Senior U.S. energy officials met with representatives of China's National Energy Administration during the U.S.–China Clean Coal Industry Forum in Billings, Montana.

Critics have argued that clean coal development is impossible and the money being spent on it should go towards clean energy generation.

China is the biggest user of coal in the world, producing and consuming about 4 billion tonnes per year.

Addressing the forum in Billings, Shi Yubo, vice administrator of China's energy agency, said: “We need to pay special attention to developing clean coal technology."

China is developing new demonstration CCUS projects that capture carbon and stop GHG emissions from escaping into the atmosphere contributing to global warming and climate change, according to Shi.

In November last year, U.S. President Barack Obama set a new target to reduce GHG emissions in the U.S. by 26 per cent to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025 and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, said his country will reach peak carbon emissions levels by 2030.

China also plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuel sources in the nation’s energy mix to about 20 per cent by 2030.