Win-win for the U.S. and China on cleantech

Speaking of win-win, a new McKinsey article asserts that the U.S./China cleantech race doesn't need to be a zero-sum game. Green Sheet picks out the areas of potentially fruitful collaboration:
1. Electric Cars: Each country will have private companies battling to create the best electric car. However, the countries can help each other, and those private companies by:

* Setting coordinated product and safety standards across the two markets
* Funding the rollout of infrastructure
* Sponsoring joint R&D initiatives in select areas (such as new materials for car parts)
* Ensuring that trade policies support rather than hinder the development of a global supply chain for the sector
* Providing consumers with financial incentives to buy the new models.

2. Carbon capture and sequestion: Working together on clean coal projects would speed the development by doubling resources. Together the governments can "fund demonstration plants...set standards and drive down costs."

3. Concentrated solar power: CSP uses mirrored solar panels which reflect heat that create steam that power a turbine. Without a joint effort between China and the US, Woetzel says CSP might not even have a future. Again, he says, "Setting common standards, coinvesting in pilot projects and R&D, and undertaking other joint initiatives are the way to get this started."
It is an attractive idea, and, as Green Sheet points out, small-scale research collaboration is already underway. But for me IP seems like a massive barrier to larger co-investments. McKinsey believes it is manageable:
Even the thorniest—IP protection—is manageable. Because companies from many nations would contribute to making these three big technologies a success, IP agreements should be international. On that front, China will need to improve its ability to enforce global IP rules.
... but that simple-sounding last sentence is a world away from actual operating practice in China today, which will likely take a long time to change, and a longer time to develop the kind of IP track record that makes Western companies and governments comfortable.

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