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Experts in U.S. and China see a chance for cooperation against climate change

The New York Times in an article by Edward Wong and Andrew Revkin summarized two recent reports that propose ways for President Obama and Chinese leaders begin addressing how to work together to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.  Both nations now recognize the urgency of global warming and the need for agreements between them if a new international climate treaty is to be possible. 
 
“A Roadmap for U.S.-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change,” is by Steven Chu, now the secretary of energy, John Thornton, who may become the U.S. ambassador to China, and John Holdren, Obama’s choice for science adviser.  The report recommends that China and the U.S. convene a presidential summit meeting to create a broad plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; then senior officials and independent experts would be named to councils and task forces to develop concrete programs. 
 
The second report, by David Sandalow and Kenneth Lieberthal, both fellows of the Brookings Institution, lists nine ways to build political support in both countries for long term cooperation on cutting emissions. 
 
Officials from both countries say that the process outlined in “Roadmap” could establish a new framework for U.S.-China relations.  However, both countries may be too focused on reviving their economies to devote much attention to curbing emissions.  Any partnership forged through the “Roadmap” process must be sustained, not episodic.  Old attitudes and entrenched positions remain, but are starting to give way to new realities.  As Wu Jianmin, a senior adviser to the Foreign Ministry said, “We all understand we don’t have much time left.  We’ve got to work together.”

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