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Copenhagen's baby step on climate change: More electric cars?

China and US cooperation in promoting such vehicles is a concrete step against global warming. But how to measure claims in miles "per gallon"?

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As the two largest carbon polluters, China and the US have yet to agree on much before the international conference on global warming in Copenhagen next week.

But they are cooperating on at least one thing – rapid acceleration in the production of electric and hybrid vehicles.

During his trip to the climate-change conference, President Obama can point to his recent pact with Beijing to jointly share information on standards, research, and demonstration of such vehicles. That should help make up for his dashed hopes that Congress would have set targets for cutting carbon emissions by now.

Mr. Obama is banking heavily on electric and hybrid cars to reshape the world's energy future. Earlier this year, he promised to "put one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on America's roads by 2015." But besides the new cooperation with China and the billions in subsidies to bolster this small industry, his main policy tool is to push automakers to produce fleets that run with an average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.


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