Global momentum is building on the climate crisis but action will be impossible without two nations, China and the United States, which together account for more than half of emissions -- and whose governments don't get along.
Ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, experts believe that breakthrough US-China cooperation could be the catalyst for a historic agreement on climate change -- but also that frosty ties between Washington and Beijing are not, so to speak, the end of the world.
With so many areas of tension between the United States and China, a multilateral process such as COP26 may be more effective in any case than bilateral talks, said Jacob Stokes, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
"Neither side wants to be seen as doing this as some sort of favor to the other side," he said.
And with China already the world's second-largest economy, Stokes said that US policymakers may want to focus climate diplomacy on poorer nations.
"Is it more important to expend effort to get concessions from Beijing or to try to finance expansion of clean power in the rest of the developing world that still has a lot more energy-intensive development to do?"
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