Clean Cookstoves Top Hillary Clinton's Agenda in China on Thursday

By Susan Jones | May 4, 2012 | 6:23am EDT

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, right, talks to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as they attend a group photo after the opening ceremony of U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Jason Lee, Pool)

( - China has agreed to join the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, after touring a cookstove exhibit with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing on Thursday.

It's one of several new U.S.-China "eco-partnerships" announced during Clinton's visit, which has been overshadowed by human rights concerns involving blind dissident Chen Guangcheng.

"This illustrates once again that the United States and China can and will work together in new ways and through many channels to address our common challenges on energy and the environment, two issues that transcend politics," Clinton said at a ceremony marking the cookstove agreement. She did not address the Chen situation in her remarks.

Clinton launched the Global Alliance, a public-private partnership, two years ago. The stated goal is to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change by bringing "clean and efficient cooking solutions" to families around the world. The total U.S. commitment to the cookstove project so far is $105 million.

China's participation will help the Global Alliance meet its goal of having 100 million homes adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020.

In China, an estimated 80 percent of households rely on solid fuels such as wood or dung to burn the fires that heat their food. The World Health Organization estimates that burning those solid fuels accounts for more than 540,000 premature deaths in China each year and various chronic and acute illnesses.

"By joining the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, China is taking an important step towards reducing the enormous health, gender, economic and environmental risks associated with inefficient and polluting cookstoves, both in China and in developing markets around the world," the U.S. State Department said.

China will help establish global performance standards for cookstoves and work with domestic manufacturers to meet these standards. It also will launch an international stoves research center to create high-performing domestic stoves for global markets.

In her remarks hailing China for the clean-cookstoves agreement, Clinton also mentioned several other eco-partnerships with China:

"We already have 13 EcoPartnerships, and today we are launching five more. One will connect experts on two of our nation’s most precious resources, the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers. They will exchange ideas about restoring ecosystems.

"Two other partnerships will pair researchers working to develop electric cars. Two more will help development environmentally friendly cities and create exchange programs for local officials who work on environmental issues," Clinton said.

Also See:
Hillary Clinton Wants Global Standards For Cookstoves (Sept. 21, 2010)

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