Sunday, June 20, 2021

Why Communist China Cannot Lead Global Climate Change Efforts Even as US Backs Off

When it became clear that President Donald Trump wanted to pull out of the Paris Agreement, many media houses started promoting China as the next global leader in fighting climate change. While China has definitely implemented some projects in this regard, it would be foolhardy to think that the country is going to be at the forefront of greenhouse emission reduction efforts.

Building a pro-China narrative

Some of the notable pro-environment policies enacted by China include: “a feed-in-tariff policy for renewable energy generators, which offers them a guaranteed price for their power; energy efficiency standards for power plants, motor vehicles, buildings, and equipment; targets for energy production from non-fossil sources; and mandated caps on coal consumption,” according to Green Biz.

China leads the world in terms of solar power investment and is essentially the biggest producer of solar panels, which are used both domestically and exported. Such efforts have led many in the West to dub China the new “leader” when it comes to climate change issues. These include American environmentalist Al Gore, who has consistently praised China for adhering to the Paris climate agreement, and retired NASA scientist James Hansen, who called the Chinese communist regime the world’s “best hope” to prevent global warming.

(Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
China leads the world in terms of solar power investment and is essentially the biggest producer of solar panels in the world. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Hansen even went on to suggest that an economic boycott should be placed on the United States in order to force it to match China’s efforts on global warming. What these guys don’t tell you is that China is the biggest polluter in the world and that this has been the case since 2006!

China: the world’s biggest polluter

“China’s emissions are now over 25 percent. That means that they are larger than the United States and the European Union combined. And they’re still going up, whereas ours and Europe’s are flat. So I believe that within 10 years, China’s emissions will be larger than the United States, the European Union plus Russia and Japan and Canada and Australia,” Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said to The Epoch Times.

Between 1985 and 2016, almost 70 percent of China’s energy demands were met through coal. Even though Beijing promised to cut down coal consumption, it hasn’t happened as of yet. Instead, it has been moving in the opposite direction. Between 2017 and 2018, the country actually added 200 million tons of fresh coal mining capacity. This year, the government set aside funds for the opening of 17 new coal mines. In the first half of this year, China’s coal demand grew by 3 percent and carbon emissions grew by 4 percent.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
China added 200 million tons of fresh coal mining capacity between 2017 and 2018 despite making a promise to cut down coal consumption. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Since coal generates two times as much carbon dioxide as other fossil fuels, China’s increasing consumption spells bad news for climate change. To make matters worse, China is the biggest emitter of methane, a major greenhouse gas that is 34 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, these are numbers that people who place China as the future environmental leader neither speak about nor are interested in discussing.

China’s authoritarian government cracks down on all criticism against it, which also applies to any negative coverage of its environmental policies. Back in 2015, a journalist released a documentary called Under the Dome that criticized the state for their lax attitude in dealing with poor air quality. Millions of people saw the documentary online. And within a week, the state forced all Chinese websites to take down the video.

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Max Lu
Max Lu is an author who specializes in Asian geopolitics.

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