#TBT: Examining U.S.-China Relations in Energy Policy

By / 2.22.2018

This week, PPI Strategic Adviser Paul Bledsoe published a piece for The Hill exploring the dynamic between the United States and China when it comes to solar energy. According to Bledsoe, an examination of history suggests that “an element of global cooperation on energy technology among economic competitors may be necessary to address the existential threat of climate change.” In the context of this new piece, some may want to revisit another article for Politico about energy initiatives involving China and the United States that Bledsoe wrote last year.

In the piece from last April, “How Trump can help save coal—with China’s help,” Bledsoe argues that China could play an important role in complementing American efforts to develop clean coal technology. In supporting such a partnership, the Trump administration could bring back some coal jobs in the United States while helping to combat climate change in the long run. Although some would probably claim that the U.S. does not need help in this area, Bledsoe argues otherwise. Because low American natural gas prices limit investment, states regulate slowly, and carbon dioxide storage is not fully developed in the U.S., China could prove a helpful collaborator. Given this potential value, Bledsoe suggests that U.S. State and Energy Departments work with the Chinese “to greatly accelerate the timetables under which commercially viable CCS technology can be widely deployed in both countries.”

Just this month, Trump signed legislation that included larger tax cuts for capturing and storing carbon, potentially bringing down costs and giving the technology commercial value. Additionally, the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center remains active today. Together, these two PPI pieces from Paul Bledsoe highlight the potential value of cooperation between the United States and China on energy issues, acknowledging that this relationship must be complex in order to meaningfully fight climate change. By taking a globalized approach in situations such as these, the United States is likely to find more effective options for combatting energy challenges.