U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed five new U.S.-China EcoPartnerships during a signing ceremony in Beijing, China on May 3, 2012. U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and China's National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua co-chaired the event. Science Advisor to President Obama Dr. John Holdren, U.S. Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis, U.S. Special Representative for Global Partnerships Kris Balderston, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Dr. Catherine Woteki also participated. Two of the five new EcoPartnerships were initially admitted in February 2012 on the occasion of the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to the United States. With the admission of this cohort, 18 EcoPartnerships have now been selected since the program began in 2008.
The United States and China signed the Framework for EcoPartnerships Under the U.S.-China Ten-Year Framework for Cooperation on Energy and Environment (EcoPartnerships Framework) in Beijing in December 2008. The EcoPartnerships Framework is aimed at developing new models of mutually beneficial voluntary arrangements between a range of state, local, and private sector organizations to spur innovation, investment, and engagement on clean energy and environmental issues, including climate change.
At the second U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing in May 2010, the United States and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Implementation of the Framework for EcoPartnerships. This Implementation Plan established key policies and procedures of the EcoPartnerships program, including the management framework, selection standards, and procedures for new EcoPartnerships.
The five new EcoPartnerships signed at the May 3 ceremony include:
- City of Portland—City of Kunming: This EcoPartnership will leverage the clean technology expertise of Portland, one of America's greenest cities, to develop low carbon strategies for the city of Kunming as it develops, implements, and evaluates its own low carbon programs. This partnership will result in measurable and verifiable CO2 reductions and quality of life improvements in Chinese cities. This partnership will involve training programs and exchanges via Portland's "We Build Green Cities" program.
- UCLA—Peking University: This EcoPartnership will enlist a consortium of clean energy and climate change leaders from American and Chinese universities, think tanks, and the private sector to conduct joint research on smart grids, intelligent vehicles, and electric vehicles. UCLA and Peking University are spearheading the partnership, along with the China National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation Center. The consortium is building a joint research laboratory on smart grid technology at Peking University that will serve as a hub for researchers and students, particularly from the U.S. and will enable them to better understand China's energy development environment. The consortium may also facilitate economic growth and clean job creation in the U.S. by introducing Chinese clean tech companies to manufacturing opportunities in the U.S.
- International City/County Management Association (ICMA)—China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL): This EcoPartnership will support training on good governance and environmental sustainability at the local government level. Besides offering learning tours, this partnership will encourage a Local Government Exchange Job Shadow Program and Professional Development and Lecture Tours to China, where American local government officials will gain insight into how China is addressing urbanization and associated environmental issues.
- City of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio—City of Hefei, Anhui: These sister cities of Columbus and Anhui will form an EcoPartnership together with flagship universities in those cities. Franklin County, Ohio is also included in the partnership. This EcoPartnership plans to use the resources from Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research and Hefei University of Technology to develop and apply electric vehicle technologies and address other energy and environmental issues facing both cities, such as lake and wetland conservation, waste and sewage treatment, energy conservation in buildings, and urban planning. This EcoPartnership was accepted into the program in February during Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States.
- The Nature Conservancy's Great River Partnership—The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture's Yangtze River Fishery Administration: This EcoPartnership will work to advance river basin management and conservation of large river systems and will try to develop new capacity for sustainable agriculture in both countries. This EcoPartnership will use each partner's unique strengths to develop new systems to monitor and manage large river systems such as the Mississippi and Yangtze Rivers. This EcoPartnership was also accepted into the program in February during Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States.
For information on how to become an EcoPartner visit our Get Involved page.