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The escalating trade feud between the United States and China is increasingly viewed as the opening campaign of a new cold war.If the U.S. and China actually decided to engage in a prolonged cold war, the economic consequences however dire would be dwarfed by another consequence: a lack of sufficiently strong action to combat climate change.As it stands, China produces over 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, making it the world's largest emitter. The U.S. comes in a distant second, emitting about 5 billion metric tons annually. The U.S. would insist that China drastically cut its emissions, because it is the world's No. 1 polluter in absolute terms. China would counter that the U.S. bears more responsibility for climate change, in both cumulative and per capita terms.Even if other countries did agree on measures, the impact would be insufficient without the U.S. and China on board.It is not too late for the U.S. and China to change course.
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