The next president and his administration have an unparalleled opportunity to engage China in a constructive partnership on climate change and energy security—an extraordinary and urgent challenge we face in this new century. The Bush administration’s shortsighted energy policies and refusal to commit to reductions in greenhouse gases prevented the United States from exploring and building on our two nations’ shared objectives. Tackling climate change in earnest offers the opportunity not only to safeguard the future of our environment but also to enhance the U.S.-China relationship by creating common ground on this critical issue. As the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, both nations must work together to find solutions that will stave off the most severe consequences of climate change. No international effort to address global warming will be successful without the full engagement of both countries.
Consequently, the next president should announce early in his administration that the United States will commit to substantial, mandatory reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that are not conditioned on the specific actions taken by China. At the same time, the president should make clear that China and other developing countries must assume meaningful, binding commitments to slow and ultimately reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
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