How great power rivalry may affect the low-carbon revolution

BLOOMBERG NEF | If U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has an inbox on his desk in Greenville, Delaware, it is no doubt overflowing. The coronavirus emergency, and the need to revive the economy, will be prominent – but so will two other issues that actually threaten to complicate each other in the years ahead. One is trade tension with China. The other is the low-carbon energy transition.

Biden will be wary of Chinese intentions – U.S. political opinion has shifted markedly since his time in the Obama administration. But he will be encouraged that, very recently, Asia’s three largest economies – China, Japan and South Korea – have all announced carbon-neutrality goals for 2050 or 2060. This means that over 60% of the world’s emissions are now covered by some sort of ‘net-zero’ pledge, and that term has entered the vocabulary of policymakers and boardrooms in Asia.

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