February 28, 2023

US-China Friction and the Competition for Global Climate Leadership

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

The current low point in US-China relations bodes poorly for cooperation between the two countries on global problems, such as climate change. While direct US-China climate diplomacy has had consequential impacts—and remains worth pursuing—the current state of affairs shows it is "neither durable nor dependable," wrote Jackson Ewing, senior fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability and adjunct associate professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment.

In a blog post for The Azure Forum, Ewing made the case that competition between the two countries to build global infrastructure has surpassed diplomacy as the most critical element of their relationship for addressing climate change.

"Outcomes from this competition are critical for driving, or failing to drive, low-carbon transitions in the large developing countries around the world that are quickly becoming the linchpin for addressing future global climate change," Ewing said.

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