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This article, written by Joanna Lewis, was published by the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. This work is partially based on research from the initiative’s U.S.-China Research Group on Climate Change.

September 1, 2020

Toward a New Era of U.S. Engagement with China on Climate Change

Author: Joanna Lewis

Given our respective contributions to global emissions, there is no global solution to climate change without the United States and China. As history has shown, demonstrating China's own leadership on climate change is crucial to U.S. support for climate action, and U.S. China cooperation on climate change has proven pivotal to mobilizing international climate action. This paper therefore argues that a reset of the U.S.-China relationship on climate change is crucial, and it lays out an agenda for how to move forward. Recognizing that the U.S.-China relationship has fundamentally changed in the past few years and that any engagement will need to look different from how it has looked in the past, this paper explores what we can learn from the lessons of past cooperation to ensure that progress on addressing climate change does not become a casualty of a deteriorating U.S.-China relationship.