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Home>>China >> China & World
18:11, July 17, 2009

Video:US Energy Secretary Chu talks with PD Online forum

Special Coverage:Two Chinese-American Minister's Energy Trip to Fuel Ties

Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, answers questions raised by the Strong Nation Forum, the best known Chinese online forum on international and Chinese affairs during his visit to China.

On the US energy policy: billions invested in energy efficiency buildings

The way US government has decide to get out of the crisis is to say, why not take the opportunity to put American on a course to a much greener energy future. E.g. we have a lot of old homes that are poorly insulated, so why don't we use some money to create jobs that will insulate homes especially those of poorer people who don't have the money to insulate these homes.

So it creates the jobs, and not only that, the money saved could be put back into the economy.

Money to be invested in many areas like that, to produce cleaner energy and to use energy more wisely.

On nuclear energy: at least maintain and grow

The Department of Energy is helping with new reactor designs go through the licensing process in the US.

Nuclear energy which is now about 20% of electricity generation in the US is an important part of resource. I would personally like to at least maintain and really grow more than that.

On China-US cooperation on energy conservation: much room to work together

Various sectors of energy: there's industrial use, especially heavy industry like steel and cement and aluminum and glass.

The buildings we build today are maybe twice as efficient but I think we can go maybe 3,4,5 times as efficient. We are signing 2 mutual agreements now.

Most important thing that most people don't realize is that if you do it right, these buildings will actually save money. Reduced utility bills will more than compensate for any additional money you have to put in up front.

Transport is also a very big deal on 2 respects. Firstly, to make better more fuel efficient cars. China has higher fuel efficiency standards than the US.

China and US import a lot of oil, and if we don't do something we're going to be importing more and more oil and that oil would become more and more expensive.

US has great agricultural resources. Agricultural by-products or waste are just burned or buried. Both China and the US are trying to turn those by products or wastes into transportation fuel. This could be very important because it would decrease our economic dependence on imported oil, and would better utilize waste products.

On Koyoto Protocol: Hopeful this year the US will take more responsibility

The US citizens are not fully aware of issues, not aware of the consequences of not acting to mitigate climate change.

They need to try to educate the public, it's a great opportunity for the US and China to develop an economy where you know 20 years from today oil price will be higher, and 20 years from today we will become more aware of what is happening to the climate if all countries in the world don't take action.

So now the US has opportunity to say, 'this is going to be the future' rather than deny that this is happening, say this is happening, use the ingenuity to prepare ourselves. That would actually be to an advantage.

On the US and EU complaints against China's rare metal trading

In part, this goes to the energy problems in climate change. Rare metals are used to make better magnets, and better magnets mean better generators. So the issue is can we use these metals to more efficient motors and generators?”

On the balance between the economic boom and environment

People can seize the opportunity to make more efficient energy economy, after all if we can use energy more efficiently we are actually saving money.

When you work towards energy efficiency you are actually saving jobs. This is a path forward that helps in the short term in job creation, and the saving of money which can be used for something else.

If you simply burn more coal to make electricity or burn more oil, it isn't really creating much more jobs, but if you save that money and all the people who save can spend it on something else instead of trying to keep their homes warm or moving around all the time. But its not an either or, I think you can have clean energy and a health economy.

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