Despite their increasingly bitter rivalry, the United States and China have recently been sending the right signals regarding potential cooperation on combating climate change.

The joint statement issued after the mid-April meeting between John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, indicates that the two governments may be trying to use collaboration on climate policy to prevent their relationship from devolving into outright enmity. But the path ahead is strewn with geopolitical landmines.

It is not difficult to understand why the U.S. and China are behaving responsibly at the moment. Both countries view climate change as an existential threat and have a strong interest in cooperation. And Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping know that open intransigence or obstructionism on this issue would cost them dearly in terms of international public opinion.