On Thursday, Chinese state media was delighted to report that the Biden administration’s “climate envoy,” John Kerry, met with Chinese officials at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to discuss “the space for cooperation on climate change amid bilateral tensions”.
China — by far the world’s worst polluter, with a bottomless appetite for burning dirty coal to fuel its industrial engine – lectured Kerry on ‘US inconsistency in global climate cooperation and tendency to politicize the issue’, according to the state-run newspaper world times.
The Chinese Communist newspaper’s account of the meeting in Davos, Switzerland, between Kerry and China’s ‘climate envoy’ Xie Zhenhua reads like a satire of opportunistic China using climate change as a club to bludgeon its Western competitors, while the Chinese litter the developing world with coal-fired power plants:
“It’s not just about words anymore – it’s about action. Action now is essential. Those words from Xie were a call to arms for all, and especially world leaders, to radically transform the way the global economy works if “we are to avoid climate catastrophe”, according to an article published on the World Economic website. Forum.
Kerry and Xie have worked closely together to find climate solutions, with Kerry noting that “For at least the next 8 years, we must radically change our economic system and our dependence on fossil fuels if we are to stay aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is the real battle of our time,” the article said.
Xie pointed out that China will take action in three areas: policy formulation, energy transformation and forest carbon sinks, which include promoting green and low-carbon energy transformation, strengthening forest carbon sinks and the response to the “Trillion Tree Campaign” launched by the WEF by striving to plant 70 billion trees in 10 years.
China may be willing to plant trees, but it’s certainly not greening or transforming its rapacious energy use. The Chinese are building more coal-fired power plants than the rest of the world combined and race an all-out campaign to “produce as much coal as possible” to fuel them, to quote China’s National Development and Reform Commission. China plans to increase coal production of 300 million tonnes this year, after being spooked by a severe energy crisis at the end of 2021.
the world times ignored China’s record to insist that Xie’s visit to Davos demonstrated China’s ‘sincere attitude towards climate cooperation’, while the US is said to have an ‘erratic approach to international cooperation’ on climate issues” which has “damaged its international credibility”, especially after the withdrawal of the Trump administration from the Paris climate agreement.
Of course the world times did not mention that any of Donald Trump’s former presidents main complaints about the Paris Agreement was that it allowed China to pollute heavily for a decade to come – which it does – while imposing high and immediate costs on the United States.
“Unlike some European countries, the United States has again failed to get bills dealing with climate change into the legislative process. Given his domestic political situation, maintaining a coherent strategy or finding a smooth path to legislation is hardly guaranteed,” said the world times complained.
“China-US cooperation on climate change cannot be separated from the overall situation of China-US relations. The US should work with China to meet halfway and take positive steps to get China-US relations back on track,” the op-ed pontificated, suggesting that Beijing believes it has a good chance of getting concessions from the Biden administration.