As it turns out, the United States and China are going to walk hand in hand into the renewable energy future. Yesterday, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that the two countries have formed the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center and will both provide a total of $100 million dollars in funding to research to get both energy hungry countries on the path to a greener future. While the plan sounds like a green dream come true, there’s a twist — the problem with the new initiative is that a half of the cash is going to clean coal technology, something we know doesn’t exist.
The United States and China are the top countries when it comes to world oil consumption, and the idea behind the partnership has been that these two large countries can find a common ground to work together to solve similar problems. Because of their size, the US and China will set a precedent for the entire world, pressing other countries to go fora greener future. Of the total invested amount, the US will give $25 million each to the University of Michigan to investigate new technologies for clean vehicles, and West Virginia University to research the next generation of clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage.
We’re all for the University of Michigan figuring out the future of clean vehicles — especially when considering how much petroleum the US and China’s consume — however, the clean coal cash has us a little confused. Though we understand that people want to find a way to burn coal without polluting our air, it seems that everyone always forgets that the mining of coal is destroying the landscape the world over. Coal is indeed a cheap source of energy, but its extraction is extremely costly to the environment. So, while we can applaud this cross-national partnership, we wish the pair would have better invested that $25 million to find an alternative clean-energy solution to coal.
Lead image by Chris Lim via Wikimedia Commons