Fighting climate change in a fragmented world – The Hill

by | May 7, 2022 | Climate Change

Currently, seven astronauts are living on the International Space Station: three Americans, one European and three Russians. They may not agree on much outside the day-to-day management of their vessel, but they must cooperate on that task if they all are to survive. The same is true for us on spaceship Earth.

Unfortunately, geopolitical forces threaten to dismantle the world order established after World War II. This disruption of relations among the great powers makes it even harder to sustain the international collaboration needed to tackle climate change. Its chilling effect extends not only to cooperative efforts to meet global emissions goals, but also to the research and policy studies that are needed to guide global action.

The growing stress between the U.S. and China is one obvious problem. In advance of the 2015 Paris climate negotiations, President Obama and Chairman Xi met to declare their joint commitment to enhanced climate action. It is hard to imagine a similar meeting taking place today. One U.S. response to the perceived China threat has been enhanced supervision, and in some areas the restriction of academic contacts. The concern lies with the protection of intellectual property in particular technologies, like chips, artificial intelligence and biotech, but the reporting requirements are broad. They cast a pall of suspicion over all joint work, including on climate change. Cooperation has be …

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