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Does China Really Believe in 'Climate Change'?

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

China told Biden climate czar John Kerry that it would march to its own drummer on the issue of global warming. The South China Morning Post wrote that “Beijing has rebuffed American calls to make more public pledges on climate change before a UN climate summit in November, insisting it should follow its own plan rather than bowing to US pressure, according to a person familiar with the two countries’ negotiations.”

Without China’s subscription to the model endorsed by the Paris accord, Biden’s “climate change” program is effectively dead on arrival. “China is the world’s largest [carbon] emitter, accounting for 27 per cent of global emissions.” Beijing effectively wields unilateral veto power over the targets set by climate science should it ignore its mandates or pursue unrelated or separate goals.

The New York Times gloomily blamed politics for the impending collapse of yet another Biden flagship program. “China Tells Kerry Strained Ties Could Sink Climate Cooperation

Escalating tensions between China and the United States have spilled into their talks over how to stop global warming from hitting catastrophic levels after Chinese officials warned the U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, that political ill will could undermine cooperation. …

“My response to them was, ‘Hey look, climate is not ideological. It’s not partisan, it’s not a geostrategic weapon or tool, and it’s certainly not day-to-day politics. It’s a global, not bilateral, challenge,’” he said on a call with reporters. …

Hopes for a breakthrough in Glasgow rest heavily on whether China and the United States, the two largest emitters of planet-warming pollution, can build momentum. Mr. Kerry said that Chinese leaders briefed him on plans for cutting emissions, but added that any efforts will be insufficient as long as China continues to build the coal-fired power plants that are most responsible for planet-warming emissions.

In fact, China insisted that it needed more coal-fired power plants for economic and energy security reasons.

At a press briefing on Tuesday (April 27), the director-general of the environment ministry’s climate change department, Mr Li Gao, said that new coal-fired power plants provided a source of employment and helped stabilise the grid with a predictable source of energy.

“They mainly help guarantee people’s livelihoods, and guarantee the flexibility and security of our energy grid,” he said, adding that such plants may not run at “full capacity”

One of the things the Chinese coal plants run are factories making solar panels for the West. As the WSJ wrote, Behind the rise of U.S. solar power lies a mountain of Chinese coal.

the West faces a conundrum as it installs panels on small rooftops and in sprawling desert arrays: Most of them are produced with energy from carbon-dioxide-belching, coal-burning plants in China….

For years, China’s low-cost, coal-fired electricity has given the country’s solar-panel manufacturers a competitive advantage, allowing them to dominate global markets.

Chinese factories supply more than three-quarters of the world’s polysilicon, an essential component in most solar panels…

Chinese authorities have built an array of coal-burning power plants in sparsely populated areas such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to support polysilicon manufacturers and other energy-hungry industries.

But Beijing told Kerry not to worry. “China will ‘very soon’ release broad and wide-ranging policy guidelines and road maps that will flesh out its plans for meeting its climate targets, the country’s special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua said.” He trotted out a laundry list of elements that might make it into China’s climate change road map.

These include: reducing fossil fuel use; promoting industrial upgrading; promoting energy-saving, low-carbon buildings and facilities; building a green and low-carbon transportation system; developing a circular economy and improving energy efficiency; promoting green and low-carbon technological innovation; developing green finance, introducing supportive economic policies and reform measures; improving the carbon market and trading mechanism; and implementing nature-based solutions.

In other words, the Chinese plan more economic development labeled “green” to mollify the Western baizuo or “white left,” who they may feel will fall for anything, while increasing their hard power. Beijing figures on building more industry while the Western woke ride bicycles and rely on windmills.

But it is unclear whether even the white left is gullible enough to fall for a proposal that Mr. Xie must have difficulty presenting with a straight face. Still, Beijing has Kerry over a barrel. Politically Joe needs Xi to go along with “climate change” in November, but Beijing knows he can’t make them. This leaves Biden facing several unpleasant alternatives.

  1. Try to cut back on fossil fuels through a program of drastic deprivation and belt-tightening to “make up” for all the things Beijing won’t do. To decarbonize for the both of us;
  2. Declare that climate change, like the War of Necessity in Afghanistan, was a big mistake. That it’s time to move on now, under a president man enough to admit it was all a scam to begin with; and
  3. Try to bribe China into at least pretending to go along with climate change, just like he tried to sell Ghani into saying everything was OK in Kabul even as the Taliban was taking over.

One gets the sense from Beijing’s actions that China really doesn’t really believe in climate change, unlike the white left, for which it is an existential imperative. This creates an asymmetry in Beijing’s favor. China’s got something the woke want — the woke need — and they will beat the administration over the head with it.

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