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March 6, 2018

Responding To: The Future of U.S.-China Climate Change Efforts

Cooperation is Necessary in Global Climate Leadership

Qi Shaozhou

In terms of top-down political influence, President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement does signal a decline in the positive influence of the U.S. federal government. In this case, just like when George W. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, China will strengthen cooperation and exchanges with the European Union and other countries in areas that will actively promote global cooperation to combat climate change. Chinese and U.S. government cooperation will certainly be affected. On the other hand, the bottom-up cooperation of local governments, enterprises, NGOs and research institutions between China and the United States is still ongoing, supporting each other and pushing forward research on climate change. The bottom-up cooperation is more delicate and more meaningful; it includes collaboration at the operative level and in execution. Through targeted, point-to-point cooperation, such as between our companies and research institutions, more specific technical problems can be solved. Once these issues are solved, the foundation for governmental cooperation in the future is established. In fact, it is difficult for China to lead responses towards global exchange by itself. China is still a developing country. Combating climate change issues requires support from the United States and Western developed countries. It is hard for one single country to lead international activities; cooperation is very necessary.

Qi Shaozhou is professor and director of the Climate Change and Energy Economics Study Centre at Wuhan University. He is a participant in the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues faculty research group on climate change.

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