How can the world's two biggest carbon polluters, China and the United States, work together to spearhead a global shift to clean energy?
When Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with President Obama this week in Washington, energy and climate change will be one of the bright spots in their discussion. They will celebrate the agreement they reached at the U.N. climate talks in Cancun last December, as well as the announcement of partnerships between U.S. and Chinese energy companies on "clean coal" technology. But plenty of tensions persist between the two countries, including trade disputes over China's subsidies of renewable energy and rare earth export quotas, squabbles over clean tech intellectual property, and the still-rocky road ahead until the world's two biggest polluters sign a binding climate treaty.
How can the two leaders balance the cooperation and competition aspects of clean energy development? What role can the private sector play in this dynamic? What can lawmakers do to ensure that the two countries cooperate effectively, when the mood in Congress is largely one of suspicion toward China?