In December 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced seemingly ambitious climate goals for his country. Yet despite promising net zero emissions by 2060, the plan allows China to Peak its emissions by 2030.
Meanwhile, President BidenJoe BidenManchin throws cold water on use of budget reconciliation Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate Omar criticizes Biden administrator for continuing ‘building the xenophobic wall and Trump racist ” MORE consider an emission reduction target in the United States of 50 percent by 2030. With chinese charcoal production on the upside, it looks like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking advantage of this generous personal allowance.
China has always received a free pass for action on climate change. We have enabled CCP to use its impressive solar panel production capabilities as Masterful PR to cover up other egregious actions. Perhaps the most notable example was its classification as a developing country in the 2015 Paris Agreement for which the Chinese government lobbies the UN a lot, obviously because it allows the nation to set much less ambitious emissions targets. That same year, China’s GDP was almost $ 11 trillion, just behind the United States. It doesn’t sound much like a developing country struggling to make ends meet.
China’s economic growth has only really exploded last decadesSo it was argued that it was simply a matter of catching up with the European Union and the United States. The fact remains that climate change is too urgent an issue to indulge in a country that represents a third of global emissions due to a bureaucratic label. Especially when it is a country that is not afraid to muster its increasingly impressive economic power to bend other countries into follow the line of the CCP. It is time to hold China accountable for its record emissions and remind it that acting as a world power comes with the responsibility of being a world power.
Especially now that Biden has officially joined The Paris Agreement, there is a diplomatic imperative to stop cutting China’s climate slack. Former President Trump left the deal in large part because it does not hold China, among other developing countries, responsible for its increased carbon emissions. Allowing the world’s largest polluter to continue to increase emissions while we strive for net zero is nothing short of a weakness on the global stage. All of China’s so-called solar power leadership is worthless if the government continues to finance coal plants in the whole world.
The United States risks jeopardizing not only our reputation, but also our strength in energy markets. If China continues to run dirty coal-fired power plants as we responsibly turn to clean energy solutions, with significant economic investment, there is no doubt that we are falling behind in energy exports. Climate change requires global action, and various stakeholders are consistently and rightly calling on the United States to reduce our emissions and lead the way for others to do so as well. But such efforts are largely in vain if we allow China to continue to burn. half of the coal used in the world every year, while making vague climate promises.
Biden has always touted his climate chops since taking office, but he will not be remembered as a true climate champion unless he and his administration are prepared to stand up to China and secure real commitments. Secretary Anthony Blinken has already had several terse exchanges with Chinese representatives on human rights and the coronavirus pandemic, which is a promising first step in terms of a show of diplomatic force. Applying a Xi-like approach to climate change will be essential for the Biden administration if the president is serious about reducing global emissions. Going slow with China, from climate change to its human rights abuses and the coronavirus cover-up, is not an option. Now is the time to be strong.
Christopher Barnard is the Director of National Policy for the American Conservation Coalition (ACC).
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