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July 22, 2009

News and Events

Energy Connections

  • At Half-Way Point, 2009 is the Fifth Warmest Year on Record




News and Events

Editor's Note: The EERE Network News has added a new writer, Ernie Tucker, who brings a wealth of journalistic experience to the table. Ernie wrote all the news stories in this issue (other than the Energy Connections article), although he suffered a bit under his heavy-handed editor. With his addition, we've doubled the number of staff for this newsletter, so he's a much-needed addition. Please join us in welcoming him aboard!

United States Signs Agreement with China on Building Energy Efficiency

DOE and the Chinese Ministry of Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) signed a joint agreement on July 15 to foster collaboration in the development of more efficient building designs. Under the agreement, the United States and China will exchange experts who will share their understanding of efficient building technologies, including high-performance heating and cooling, insulation, lighting, cold storage, geothermal heat pumps, building-integrated solar power, and solar thermal systems. The two nations will also explore the feasibility of developing a shared project in China to demonstrate green buildings, building energy savings, and renewable energy technologies. With this announcement, the United States and China recognize that improving energy efficiency in buildings will benefit both nations, and that by working in tandem, they can accelerate the adoption of new clean energy technologies.
An additional focus of the pact is the development of sustainable communities that rely heavily on the use of renewable energy. Together, the United States and China will conduct analyses of the lessons learned from their combined experience with energy-efficient buildings and communities, examining options for policy incentives or regulatory reform to encourage energy-efficient development in China. The United States will provide support for MOHURD's "eco-cities" initiative, which aims to build integrated green cities that are sustainably designed, use renewable power, and have efficient transportation systems. The partners will also collaborate on developing standards and guidelines for such sustainable cities. See the DOE press release.
The United States and China also plan to develop the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, which will facilitate joint research and development of clean energy technologies by teams of scientists and engineers from both countries. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Chinese Minister of Science Wan Gang, and Chinese Administrator of National Energy Administration Zhang Guo Bao announced their plans for the joint research center on July 15. The center will initially address building energy efficiency, clean vehicles, and clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage, and it will also serve as a clearinghouse to help researchers in each country. The United States and China have pledged $15 million to launch the joint research center, which will have headquarters in each country. The two countries intend to start operations at the new research center by year-end. See the DOE press release.


Energy Connections

At Half-Way Point, 2009 is the Fifth Warmest Year on Record

The first half of 2009 is tied with 2004 as the fifth warmest half-year on record for the world as a whole, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Combined land and ocean surface temperatures for January through June were 0.55°C above the 20th century average, falling just 0.09°C below the record temperature recorded in 1998, when global temperatures were elevated by an El Niño event. But the outlook for the rest of the year is for more elevated global temperatures, as a new El Niño event began in June. The effects of that event are already evident, as global ocean surface temperatures in June set a new record, at 0.59°C above the 20th century average. Overall, June 2009 ranked as the second-warmest June on record and the warmest ever in the Southern Hemisphere. But the United States was spared the heat, as the U.S. temperatures were only slightly above the 20th century average. See the NOAA press releases on the El Niño and global and U.S. temperatures, as well as the global temperature analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE Web site. If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber.
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