China–the biggest polluter in the world by the largest margin and with an endless appetite to burn dirty coal to power its industrial engines–gave a speech to, among others, the United States special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, on “the U.S.' inconsistency in global climate cooperation and tendency to politicize the issue,” according to the state-owned Global Times.
The Chinese Communist paper's report of the conference in Davos, Switzerland, between Kerry and China's “special climate envoy” Xie Zhenhua appears to reveal the irony of opportunistic China’s making use of the climate crisis as a weapon to beat its Western rivals, while the Chinese are swamping the globe with their coal-fired power stations.
“It isn't just about words anymore–it is about action. Action, now, is critical.” The words of Xie were an appeal to everyone, particularly global leaders, to transform how the world economy operates in order “to avoid climate catastrophe,” according to an article posted on the site of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Kerry and Xie have been working together to find solutions to climate issues, and Kerry believes that “for at least the next eight years, we must radically change our economic system and our reliance on fossil fuels if we're to stay aligned to Paris Agreement targets. This is the real battle of our time,” stated the article.
Xie contended that China will implement actions in three areas, including the formulation of policy, energy transformation, and forest carbon sinks. These include promoting a low-carbon, green-energy transition and enhancing forest carbon sinks in response to the “Trillion Tree Campaign” launched by the WEF, aiming to plant 70 billion trees over the next 10 years.
China may be willing to plant a few trees. However, it's not changing its ways of greening or cutting down on its massive energy consumption. The Chinese are developing more coal-power plants than any other country in the world and launching an all-out effort to “produce as much coal as possible” to power them, as per the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. China is planning to boost the production of coal to 300 million tonnes in the coming year after being frightened by a major energy shortage in the latter half of 2021.
The Global Times ignored China's track record, claiming that Xie's travels to Davos proved “China's sincere attitude toward climate cooperation,” while the U.S. allegedly has an “erratic approach to international cooperation on climate issues” that can be said to have “damaged its international credibility,” especially since the Trump Administration resigned from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Of course, the Global Times did not mention that one of the former president's main complaints regarding the Paris Agreement was that the deal permitted China to be heavily polluted over the next decade, as it is currently, while imposing massive and immediate costs upon the United States.
“In contrast to some European countries, the U.S. has again failed to get bills addressing climate change into the legislative process. Given its domestic political situation, maintaining a consistent strategy or finding a smooth path to legislation is hardly guaranteed,” the Global Times complained. “China-U.S. cooperation on climate change cannot be divorced from the overall situation of China-U.S. relations. The U.S. should work with China to meet each other halfway and take positive actions to bring China-U.S. relations back on track,” the editorial stated, suggesting Beijing believes that it is likely it can negotiate concessions with the Biden Administration.