It seems irrational that a collection of political disagreements could prevent the world’s two strongest states from cooperating to prevent the planet they share from becoming uninhabitable. Sadly, history presents several cases of societies that destroyed themselves through poor stewardship of their natural environment.
In some instances, elites pursued political conflicts at the expense of resource conservation, with the eventual result of desolating their own homelands. On Rapa Nui (Easter Island), for example, competition between chiefs to build more impressive Moai caused catastrophic deforestation, as transporting the huge blocks of stone required logs as rollers.
Something similar is happening today on a global scale. China’s new insistence that Washington must make concessions before the two countries can work together, combined with the Chinese Communist Party’s inability to lift its gaze beyond the objective of regime security, are obstacles to bilateral cooperation on climate change.
Read more at “Climate change: a new arena of US-China tension”