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How Sour Relations With China Could Derail Biden on Climate

Kelly Sims Gallagher speaks with Climatewire about the role of climate in U.S./China relations.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has claimed credit for paving the way to the Paris Agreement by convincing China to enter into an earlier landmark climate deal with the United States, in 2014.

But the relationship between the two global powers — and top carbon emitters — has soured so much in recent years that it's doubtful a similar agreement could be reconstructed if Biden, a Democrat, is elected president.

For one thing, the public might not stand for it after a campaign season in which Biden and President Trump are facing off over who can be the toughest on China.

"American politics vis-à-vis China has changed a lot, and it appears that public sentiment has shifted to become more anti-China during these last few years," said Kelly Sims Gallagher, a professor of energy and environment with the Fletcher School at Tufts University. "And so I think it has constrained the political space for Biden, if he were to be elected, to pursue cooperation."

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