John Kerry, President Biden’s envoy on climate change, concluded high-level talks with Chinese officials on Wednesday aimed at finding ways to work together on climate change despite escalating tensions between the two world powers.
The United States and China are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases as well as the green technology centers of the world. If they can agree to speed up plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it could be a result of the world’s ability to stay within safe limits for global warming.
But there are significant obstacles, including longstanding tensions over China’s insistence that it is a developing country should have more room to pollute, and US efforts to challenge China’s dominance in clean-tech manufacturing. In recent years, Chinese officials have also warned that broader conflicts in bilateral relations, which Beijing has largely blamed on the United States, will undermine cooperation in combating climate change.
Here are some figures that illustrate the complex energy relationship between the United States and China.