To no thinking person’s surprise, China’s President Xi Jinping told Communist Party leaders that saving the planet from global warming won’t come at the expense of China’s economic growth or the comfort of its people.
Greens had been pointing to China’s efforts at cutting carbon emissions as an example other nations should follow. As it turns out, President Xi knows that cutting emissions will cut growth—something Xi is not willing to do.
Democratic politicians continue to babble about “sustainable growth” and “carbon neutral industries.” Xi knows the truth and won’t allow China to play games with its economic future just to make Western radicals feel good about themselves.
China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, has been under pressure to “enhance ambition” and take more drastic action to tackle global heating. In the past two years, Beijing has also made a number of pledges to show its commitment.
But as the economy slows, China is worried about the risk to jobs and growth. The concern is particularly serious as Beijing prepares to hold a Communist party meeting that is expected to extend Xi’s rule later this year.
Late on Monday, Xi told Communist party leaders that China needed to “overcome the notion of rapid success” and proceed gradually. “Reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all, either,” he was quoted as saying by the state news agency Xinhua.
“We must stick to the overall planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security at the same time as cutting carbon emissions,” Xi said.
Xi and China have a huge problem: Their economy is growing faster than their electrical grid. Last year, there was a power outage that affected millions of people, and the coal shortage that caused it was also affecting industries. Despite China’s carbon pledges, they are building 43 coal-fired plants this year—more than the rest of the world combined.
Simply put, China is in no position to cut the carbon emissions it promised.
With energy supplies still a big concern after a wave of shortages hit manufacturers last year, Xi also told party leaders that “the gradual withdrawal of traditional energy must be based on the safe and reliable replacement by new energy”.
China has promised to accelerate the shift to renewables, but will only start to reduce coal consumption – a main source of CO2 – after 2025. Its state planning agency also said in December that it would loosen blanket restrictions on energy consumption to ensure environmental targets did not erode growth.
Another side effect of China’s coal binge is a huge increase in air pollution. Some of China’s cities are nearly unlivable because of the particulates in the air. And yet, the factories are still humming along.
China’s commitment to fighting climate change is about as real as its commitment to promoting human rights. It’s part of a propaganda campaign to make gullible left-wing Westerners put pressure on their governments to leave China alone while it pursues its agenda.
So far, so good.