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Asia Society: A Roadmap for US-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change

January 1, 2009


The Asia Society, in collaboration with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, presents a roadmap with suggestions for Chinese and American leaders that explains how to improve relations necessary for combatting climate change.

A new comprehensive program for cooperation between the United States and China that focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and thus mitigating the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, is both necessary and possible. Indeed, as this Report suggests, if human beings hope to avoid the worst consequences of global climate change, the United States and China-respectively the world's largest developed and developing nations, the two largest energy consumers, and the two largest producers of greenhouse gases-have no alternative but to become far more active partners in developing low-carbon economies.

To prevail in such a common effort, both countries will need not only bold leadership and a new set of national policies, but also a path-breaking cooperative agenda that can be sustained over the long run. The advent of a new U.S. presidential administration in Washington, D.C., coupled with a central leadership in Beijing that is increasingly aware of the destructive impact and long-term dangers of climate change, presents an unparalleled opportunity for this new strategic partnership.

While the current global economic crisis could make joint action between the United States and China more difficult, it could also provide an unexpected impetus. If wisely allocated, funds invested by both governments in economic recovery can help address climate change while also advancing the "green technologies" and industries that will lead to a new wave of economic growth.

Stronger bilateral collaboration on energy and climate change has at the same time the real prospect of helping to build a new, more stable, and constructive foundation under Sino-American relations, the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century world.

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