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How rising US-China tensions will affect the fight against climate change

Tensions between China and the United States have increased in recent months. I have pondered the persistence of the superpowers' long-term commitment to climate change. April interview with John Kerry— weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine — So, I asked a top US climate diplomat if Washington and Beijing could continue to work together on climate change if China backed . War in the Kremlin

His answer was not very reassuring. "We've had a few Zoom meetings and we're really trying to find out how related the issues are," he said.that cooperation collapsed when Beijing announced it was suspending climate talks with the United States following the visit ofto Taiwan.

The lack of dialogue between the world's largest emitters is alarming, and politicizing climate change is a dangerous new avenue. Given the U.S. dependence on Chinese technology exports, the rift could make the U.S. transition to clean energy more difficult. It can also impact global efforts to stop climate change.

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Together, countries have made important progress, including securing global cooperation towards the 2015 Paris Agreement. And last year, at theCOP26 summit, countries announced they would work together to curb methane emissions. In September 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the county would stop funding overseas coal projects. This is a pledge that, according to some experts, would not have been possible without international engagement. "I don't necessarily think this commitment was made voluntarily by China without international engagement, including that of the United States," Li Shuo of Greenpeace East Asia said in Beijing.

"When you talk about the US and China's commitment to climate change over the past decade, it's almost a storyline of cooperation and engagement," he says. "If we're trying to introduce more conflict, competition, or just secession, I don't think it will help move the global climate agenda forward."

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Neither country is meant to stop doing domestic homework. China's coal production will reach record levels in 2021while Beijing will peak emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060 China is adding more renewable energy capacity than any other country,electric vehiclesandbatteries. It is also a leader in environmental technology. That situation is unlikely to change as Beijing continues to strive forenergy securityand economic growth. Combat the public's growing concern for environmental issues. China's Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, said on his Twitter on August 9 that China remains committed to its climate goals.

In the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act aims to boost domestic renewable energy technology manufacturing. But it won't happen overnight. Meanwhile, the United States continues to rely on China for things like solar components. "It's hard to see how it would hurt China to end its climate cooperation with the United States," said Norman Waite, a Hong Kong-based energy finance firm. Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

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But now, cooperation between nations is more important than ever, said Joanna Lewis, director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University. increase. This will take years and there is no time left to decarbonize the energy sector.”

Continuing tensions could make the energy transition even more difficult. Even before Pelosi's stop in Taiwan, some industry insiders argued that the US' hardline stance on China was causing disruptions in his supply chain, and that the tariffs were hurting US businesses and consumers..In February, U.S. President Joe Biden extended Trump-era tariffs on some Chinese solar products aimed at supporting domestic manufacturers. According to Wall, in recent weeks some Chinese solar panel suppliers have been harassed by U.S. customs officials seeking to enforce a law that would block most imports from China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region over concerns about forced labor. My shipment to the US is being seized or sent back. Street Journal

Human rights issues should not be ignored, but US and China must work together on climate change to keep the world livable . said Michael Davidson, assistant professor of engineering and policy at the University of California, San Diego. undermining the ability of any country and the world to reduce emissions; Write to Amy Gunia at