As of June 2020, China has more coal capacity than the US and India, for example. Recently, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to the United Nations General Assembly that China would become carbon neutral. Will China be able to zero carbon emissions by 2060?, it is difficult to predict, but one way or another, it was an unexpected message from Xi Jinping, because China is one of the “leaders” among the countries with the highest carbon emissions, writes The New York Times…
“Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental performance, ignoring China’s uncontrollable pollution, are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America, and I am against it,” US President Donald Trump said in response to Jinping’s message.
Ironically, Trump’s words make sense. While China has begun to take an active interest in environmental issues and invest heavily in renewable energy, there is now no clear evidence that all of these measures introduced by Xi Jinping actually benefit the environment.
Steel production in China, after reaching its peak in 2014 and gradually declining, has increased again since 2017. As well as coal mining – China produced half of the world’s total coal volume last year, and China is also one of the largest “consuming countries” of coal.
However, the share of coal in China’s energy sector also fell somewhat in 2018 and for the first time dropped to below 60%.
As of June, China had more coal-fired capacity than the United States and India, according to a report from the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research.
Now, the Chinese government is also actively trying to stimulate the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, giving Chinese officials at all levels a reason to “do whatever it takes to make up for the losses.”
In the first half of this year, China issued more construction permits for coal-fired power plants than in 2018 and 2019.
Jinping’s recent pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060 may not seem very realistic. However, for Jinping’s plans to work, Beijing would have to change China’s economic growth patterns and reduce its dependence on heavy industry and coal.
The US probably has no intention of “holding China” accountable if Beijing does not deliver on its “environmental promise.”
Given how much better China’s environmental performance was than India’s, the vocal demands of foreign governments to reduce pollution from China could be seen as an intention to “curb the rise” of Beijing.
Since then, Trump’s move to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which pledged the administration of then US President Barack Obama to reduce America’s emissions and contribute $ 3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, has further undermined environmental credibility in Washington.
The same applies to the ambiguous statements by the Trump administration on domestic environmental standards in the United States: the cancellation of the clean energy plan, the promise to revitalize the coal industry, and the easing of restrictions on oil and gas production.
Rising tensions between the United States and China, as well as the termination of most of the official mechanisms for bilateral dialogue between countries, have reduced US influence.
Beijing, facing what it sees as an increasingly hostile international situation, is trying to make the Chinese economy more independent and reduce China’s dependence on foreign trade.
As China moves towards economic independence, Washington’s influence on the country’s development and environmental standards is likely to diminish.
For years, the Chinese have viewed US diplomatic missions in China as the only reliable source of air quality data. In late July, amid a rapid deterioration in US-China relations, the US consulate in Chengdu was closed.
The pollution in China is also bad for the United States.
Air pollution in Asia has caused the deterioration of the “environmental situation” in parts of America. A 2014 study of ambient air pollution in China found that when strong winds blow across the Pacific Ocean, pollutants emitted from China’s industries account for at worst four to six percent of the carbon monoxide recorded in the west USA.
These facts should be of great concern to the Trump administration, if only because they are of concern to Americans. China’s impact on the global environment topped the list of American concerns about Beijing, according to a Pew survey in April.
However, an attempt by Washington to stop the economic cooperation between the US and China will only worsen the situation. On his re-election agenda, Trump threatens American companies that continue to work too closely with China, while offering great advantages to companies in important industries like pharmaceuticals and robotics if they move their manufacturing facilities from China back to the United States.
However, if such a change occurs, all harmful substances as a result of the work of industrial companies that Washington actually exported to China could return to America. Thus, on the issue of environmental protection, the “termination of economic cooperation” between China and the United States is disadvantageous for both countries, the publication concludes.