Climate change a must-cooperate field for US, China

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/16 20:53:40

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

While a difficult 2020 drawing to a close, China and the US is expected to enter a new phase of benign relations with rising possibility to resume cooperation. Facing common global challenges, coping with climate change and promoting green economy could be an area the world's two largest economies start to partner on, which will benefit both sides and the whole world.

As the US Elector College vote has sealed victory for US President-elect Joe Biden, dealing a final heavy blow to Donald Trump's political dream, the new US administration is expected to take predictable and tangible actions to fulfill campaign pledges, including a net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, which calls for a "big but affordable effort", a recent Princeton study showed. 

According to the Princeton report, up to $2.5 trillion needs to be invested over the coming decade starting 2021 to fulfill the 2050 zero-emission goal, including staggering effort to improve energy infrastructure and large-scale renewable-energy system expansion.

As one of incoming Biden administration's priorities, curbing carbon emissions is in line with the global trend of seeking sustainable and high-level development. Although Biden has promised to bring the US back to the Paris Climate Agreement on the first day of his presidency, mounting challenges awaits in the way for the implementation of the policy, such as partisan and antagonistic forces at home and a formidable budget to control pollution.

In the meantime, China has continued to rack up campaigns to reduce industrial emissions and produce new and clean energies for industrial and household use. Recently Beijing has announced the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by2060, with CO2 emissions peaking before 2030.

Driven by the country's growing economic momentum, China has made progress in boosting green economy with improving national awareness. The nation has seen registration of more than 6,700 new and clean technology companies, 590 green financial firms and other progresses, studies have showed. 

Apart from China and the US, tackling climate change is a global issue which needs involvement of all countries and regions. After the Trump administration categorically undermined the world's multilateral mechanisms for years, including pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and sabotaging the global trade system by setting off a tariffs war with China, the climate change and green economy offers a practical topic for the two giant countries to join hands based on enhancing their mutual benefits.

Mending ties won't be easy, although China and the US will remain rivals in some areas, it is widely forecasted that the two will see emerging possibilities to cooperate on good terms when Biden takes office. 

Over 70,000 American enterprises have made investments in China, 97 percent have benefitted, and with a higher level of profitability than those outside the China market, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently outlined in a video conference with US business representatives.

"China and the US share a wide range of common interests and broad space for cooperation in spite of their differences in history, culture, social system and development path," Wang said.

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, over 1.6 million precious lives have been lost, and the global economy remains in a distress. Forming a cooperative relationship between the world's two largest economies benefits not only the two peoples, it will reduce reservations in the international community and sets an example for countries and regions to join efforts to pull the global economy out of the once-in-a-century health crisis.

The article was compiled based on an interview with Song Guoyou, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.


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