April 07, 2023 12:01 AM
It is folly to believe China will do anything to reduce its carbon emissions. Xi Jinping’s regime views the phrase “carbon emissions reductions” as a mere rhetorical tool with which to extract serious and consequential concessions from other nations.
The Global Energy Monitor’s “Boom and Bust Coal 2023” report reinforces this reality. It shows how China has continued building and activating heavy carbon-emitting coal plants and is doing so faster than the United States and other Western nations can decommission their own such plants.
Beijing has taken this polluting path even as other nations have begun to reduce their own coal-related carbon emissions. The U.S. led the world last year by retiring 13.5 gigawatts’ worth of coal-fired electrical capacity. China, however, as the Associated Press notes, added 26.8 gigawatts of capacity and “gave clearance for nearly 100 gigawatts of new coal power projects with construction likely to begin this year.”
At the November 2021 COP26 summit, China pledged to take “enhanced climate actions that raise ambition in the 2020s.” That this coal-fired binge is wholly inconsistent with such a pledge should be obvious, even to President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry.
The Global Energy Monitor chart below illustrates the deceptive nature of China’s various pledges to cut carbon and reach peak emissions by 2030 and then begin reductions. China is single-handedly canceling out the rest of the world’s reductions in carbon emissions and then some.
Global Energy Monitor
This demonstrates the foolishness of Biden’s policy of cutting domestic carbon emissions at all costs. Where the U.S. closes down fossil fuel energy sources, or limits the exploitation of new sources, it destroys jobs and drives up overall energy costs. To punish the public in pursuit of climate change zealotry is bad enough. But it’s outrageous that Biden would continue on this path even as China gleefully offsets all our cuts by building hundreds of coal-fired power plants.
This report should also serve as a needed wake-up call for those who bury their heads in the sand and insist, against all evidence, that China is a productive partner in reducing emissions.
Kerry and others would have their countrymen believe the U.S. should keep dancing to China’s deceptive climate waltz. They have been hoodwinked by Beijing’s rhetorical flirtation with carbon emissions cuts. Ordinary people are the ones being swindled. They pay more for energy, and in the meantime, in return for false promises of climate mitigation, China exacts Western concessions on such foreign policy priorities as Taiwan, trade, technology, and even Western silence on its human rights abuses.
Recall Kerry’s suggestion that objections to China’s genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minority in Xinjiang province must be sidelined in favor of climate cooperation. As Kerry has put it, “life is always full of tough choices.” Perhaps that’s true for the gullible Kerry but not for Xi. He doesn’t have to make tough choices. He can continue erasing a people inside China’s borders, and all he has to do to keep Kerry silent about it is make promises he knows he won’t keep.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beijing this week is evidence that the European Union, for all its stated concern about climate change, cares about trade with China and not much else. Instead of deluding themselves about China’s climate commitment, American diplomats should take this opportunity to shame Macron and other EU leaders into a tougher stance toward Beijing.
In short, China is playing Biden for a fool. At what point does the president become culpable for playing along?