US seeks cooperation with China on climate but not at any price

US seeks cooperation with China on climate but not at any price

Climate envoy John Kerry has rejected notion that Beijing could buy US silence on human rights as price of cooperation on climate

In the next four months or so, the world will find out whether it is possible for one branch of the US federal government – the state department – to accuse Chinese officials of committing genocide, and for another branch – led by the special envoy on climate change, John Kerry – to persuade China to transform the way its dirty economy operates. Is it possible simultaneously to compete for mastery of the world and to collaborate to save that world?

The outcome of this diplomatic experiment will become known at the British-hosted Cop26 in Glasgow convened to try to put the world on course for only 1.5C of warming. All countries are expected to produce their nationally determined contributions – how much they will reduce their carbon footprint. British officials insist Cop26 is about more than China and the US, but without these two players, jointly responsible for 40% of global green house gas emissions, nothing meaningful is achievable.

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