In December 2009, the UN climate summit in Copenhagen ended with little to show for itself but a nonbinding agreement to keep on trying. That was no surprise: After all, 20 years of prior talks had yielded no discernable change in emissions. What is surprising, though, is that so many analysts continue to view climate policy as a thing apart from global power politics. Indeed, one needed really big blinders to miss the fact that the growing rivalry between the United States and China was central to the (in)action in Copenhagen.
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