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How can the USA and China cooperate and learn from each other to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?


China and the USA are the two leading emitters of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change. This paper explores how the two nations can cooperate and learn from each other in two key areas: transportation and renewable energy sources for electricity. Although each country has its own political, economic, cultural, and energy resource situation, many opportunities exist for moving away from fossil fuels. Cooperation could occur in a joint clean energy research institute to work on new and improved technologies, such as storage batteries, electric vehicle batteries, solar panels, green buildings, and carbon capture and storage. Avoiding trade restrictions such as tariffs on Chinese solar panels and other renewable components would be a strong sign of cooperation on climate mitigation. Cooperation on international climate agreements as happened at COP 26 will continue to be important. Exchange programs could be arranged to share experiences and ideas at the state/province and local government levels and involving think tanks, NGOs, and companies financing and developing clean energy. These exchanges can spur discussion and learning about new regulations, infrastructure, urban design, financial incentives, and technologies and how to adapt them to one’s own country. The fate of the planet may depend on cooperation between the two countries.

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Fig. 1

Source: Khanna, 2016. Map by University of Wisconsin-Madison Cartography Laboratory, copyright (C) 2016 by Parag Khanna; from CONNECTOGRAPHY: MAPPING THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL CIVILIZATION by Parag Khanna. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved

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(Source: China Discovery 2021)

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Correspondence to Tom Daniels.

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Daniels, T. How can the USA and China cooperate and learn from each other to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?. Socio Ecol Pract Res 4, 103–115 (2022).

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  • Megaregion
  • Fossil fuel
  • Renewable energy
  • Climate change
  • Mitigation