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There is a scene in one of my favorite movies where the hero, surrounded by an angry mob, wraps one of his arms around his own neck, puts his gun to his own head with the other and warns that he’ll shoot if anyone gets closer. The crowd freezes and, worried that he’s serious, backs off.

That scene came to mind last week amidst reports that Chinese officials had warned visiting U.S. climate envoy John Kerry that cooperation on climate change depended on Washington’s attitude on other issues. China has reason to be troubled by U.S. positions on a variety of concerns, but blocking cooperation with Washington on climate change makes no sense. It’s in Beijing’s own interest to work with the United States on climate. China is already profoundly affected by climate change and the impacts will only get worse.

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