Overcoming obstacles to U.S.-China cooperation on climate change

Overcoming obstacles to U.S.-China cooperation on climate change

U.S.-China relations have evolved and grown enormously since the Nixon visit to Beijing in 1972. But despite this progress, underlying mutual distrust over long-term intentions has grown and can over time make mutual antagonism a self-fulfilling prophecy. U.S.-China relations should now advance to a new stage that has the two countries consult and cooperate to address the most critical global issues of the 21st century. Climate change and clean energy, along with the global economic crisis, offer turning points. Cooperation on climate change can help move U.S.-China relations to a new stage; failure to cooperate can introduce significant new tensions.

This report recommends ways to overcome obstacles to cooperation between the United States and China on climate change. The report is intended for senior leadership in each country, with the goal of helping them:

• understand relevant conditions in the other country
• appreciate the priorities and constraints of counterparts across the Pacific
• take action to control greenhouse gas emissions at home
• develop specific avenues of bilateral cooperation
• facilitate agreement in multilateral negotiations on these topics

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