Sunday, May 15, 2011

U.S.-China EcoPartnerships: The CoDominion plans for sustainability

A funny thing happened as I was looking for stories to include in Part 2 of this week's Sustainability news linkspam and Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday on Daily Kos; I stumbled upon a distinct story within the theme of sustainability news--sustainability partnerships between the United States and China. It turns out that there were a lot of press releases about this story, which means that the impetus for it was coming from outside the colleges. Sure enough, I found a source for it at the very top.

U.S. State Department: Secretary Clinton To Praise Announcement of Six New U.S.-China EcoPartnerships on May 10
On May 10, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver opening remarks at a signing ceremony for six new U.S.-China EcoPartnerships, taking place alongside the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), at the Department of State.
The only person higher would be President Obama himself.

Note that the announcement took place as part of the "U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue." If you want to see one vision of the future, that's it right there; the U.S. and China running the world together. That would be eerily appropriate, as the inspiration for this blog, "The Mote in God's Eye," takes place in the far future of Jerry Pournelle's CoDominion timeline. During the early part of that timeline, the Earth of the 21st Century is being ruled by the two major powers. Of course, in those stories, the powers are the US and USSR, but substituting China for the now-defunct USSR works just as well, if not better.

So, who did the Chinese send over for this announcement?

Secretary Clinton will speak at approximately 9:30 a.m. Chinese Minister Xie Zhenhua will speak on behalf of the Chinese government.
Carrisa Wodehouse over at Sustainable Business Forum identifed Xie Zhenhua as "the Chinese Vice Chairman of the National Development And Reform Commission."  Not the very top, but close enough.
Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and the Secretary’s Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis will also attend the ceremony.
I'm glad to see the current organizational chart of the State Department has someone that high up in charge of science and the environment.

So, what about the program itself?
Established under the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environmental Cooperation (TYF), the EcoPartnerships program formally links U.S. and Chinese stakeholders to work on clean energy and sustainable development. Through seven existing partnerships, stakeholders are already sharing best practices on preventing air pollution, protecting water resources, rebuilding after natural disasters, developing electric vehicles and wind energy technologies, and safeguarding natural habitats.
I'm also glad to see that the version of the CoDominion in our timeline is taking sustainability into consideration. I don't think I ever recall Pournelle's fictional version ever doing so. Then again, Pournelle has never been much of a tree-hugger.

Now, who was inducted last week?
Following Secretary Clinton’s opening remarks, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between six new EcoPartnerships:
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) with the China National Off-shore Oil Corp – New Energy Investment Co, Ltd. (Beijing, China)
  • Duke Energy (Charlotte, NC) and the city of Charlotte, NC, with ENN Solar Energy Group (Langfang) and the city of City of Langfang (China)
  • The State of Utah with Qinghai Province (China)
  • Center for Climate Strategies (Washington, DC) with Global Environmental Institute (Beijing, China)
  • United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (Austin, TX) with China Business Council for Sustainable Development (Beijing, China)
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN), the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN) with the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (Beijing, China), Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (Beijing, China), and Institute of Applied Ecology (Shenyang, China).
I don't have time to dig through all of the PR departments of the U.S. members of each of those partnerships, so I'll just concentrate on the last one, which I've bolded.

Details on Purdue University's relationships with the Chinese involving sustainability, along with news of other partnerships involving Michigan universities after the jump.

Purdue University: U.S. State Department selects Purdue to lead China EcoPartnership
May 9, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The U.S. State Department is selecting Purdue University to lead one of six U.S.-China EcoPartnerships, which will focus on sustainability issues including environmental challenges posed by alternative energy and climate change in the two countries.

A formal signing ceremony announcing the agreement is planned for Tuesday (May 10) in Washington, D.C., in connection with the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to participate in the signing ceremony.

"The new EcoPartnership will focus on environmental and energy challenges in the United States and China," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "We are looking forward to being an active and leading global player to address these challenges, working with State Department officials, our colleagues in China and our U.S. university partners."

The Purdue-China EcoPartnership, a five-year initiative, will focus on joint research aimed at addressing the combined effects of climate change, renewable energy and human activities on regional and global ecosystems. Research teams also will explore technologies that would aid in restoring damaged ecosystems.
It turns out that Purdue University had been working up to this partnership by signing two other agreements about a week in advance.

Purdue University: Purdue, China forming joint energy-research labs
May 2, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is forming two joint laboratories with China's Beihang University to focus on low emissions, combustion and energy systems research.

"These collaborations will advance knowledge that is needed to create cleaner, more efficient energy and power systems," said Purdue President France A. Córdova.

Córdova signed an agreement with Beihang University President Huai Jinpeng to form the BUAA-Purdue Joint Laboratory on Energy Systems and the BUAA-Purdue Joint Laboratory on Low Emissions Combustion. Beihang University also is known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Purdue University: Purdue president signs research agreement in China
May 3, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University President France A. Córdova has returned from a trip to China where she and the president of China Agricultural University signed an agreement in Beijing to create a joint research center that will address issues of global food security and hunger.

Also present at the April 25 signing were Purdue's Arden Bement, director of the Global Policy Research Institute, and Michael Brzezinski, interim dean of international programs.

Work at the CAU-Purdue Joint Research Center initially will focus on plant stress biology, including how to make crops better withstand drought and heat in Indiana, the United States and globally. The center will promote research collaborations and the exchange of information between the two institutions with the aim of increasing agricultural productivity.

The partnership demonstrates the importance of international collaborations in fundamental research, Córdova said.
Busy, busy.

Michigan universities are also getting in the action. Note the date of the first story.

Michigan State University: MSU scholar leads program on global food safety
May 9, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan State University scholar is leading a three-week program with 24 senior government officials from China that aims to strengthen global food safety.

The delegation began the program May 7 in Geneva and will travel to Paris, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis before wrapping up with a three-day visit to the MSU campus in East Lansing.

The Global Food Safety-China Program focuses on protecting public health through a more integrated approach to food safety, said Kevin Walker, MSU professor of veterinary medicine and veteran researcher of global food safety and animal and public health issues.
The above story is still ongoing. As for one that has yet to happen, check out the following.

University of Michigan: U-M hosts U.S.-China conference on sustainable energy, water and transportation
May 5, 2011
DATE: May 20-21, 2011.

EVENT: Science, policy and industry leaders from the world's two largest emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gases—the United States and China—will gather at the University of Michigan to tackle one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: how to develop sustainable societies.

Unlike a purely academic conference, "Developing Global Sustainability: U.S./China Partnerships" will feature representatives from the energy, transportation and water industries, government policy leaders from both countries, university researchers, and members of non-governmental organizations.

The conference will focus on the key policies and technologies needed to attain sustainable energy, water resources and transportation, especially as they pertain to the United States and China. About 225 participants are expected, including at least 100 from China.
I'm glad the CoDominion is paying attention to the health of the planet. After all, if there is no environment, there is no society. If there is no society, there is no economy. If there is no economy, there are no politics or power. Those last two are what the CoDominion will really be about.

As for the Maybe in this post, it's the CoDominion.  Notice that it was the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.  That means that these conferences began in 2009, when the current administration took over.  That may not continue in an adminstration run by a different party.  One headed by what Kunstler calls "corn-pone fascists" might be less inclined to cooperate with China and more likely to fight with them.  Here's to that Maybe not taking place!


1 comment: