Climate: The basic cooperation between China and the United States has stopped

Climate: The basic cooperation between China and the United States has stopped

There is “no way to solve the world’s most pressing problems without effective dialogue and cooperation” between the United States and China. This is how UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to China’s decision to suspend climate negotiations with Washington following the controversial trip by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the UN House of Representatives, to Taiwan.

Lack of discussions between the two largest CO2 emitters2 The world, in fact, is troubling. The COVID-19 crisis has given a taste of the dangers of politicizing a topic of global concern; The climate agenda is perhaps even more dangerous.

The agreement of the two superpowers, not so long ago, made important achievements possible, notably by serving as a model for global cooperation to the Paris Agreements in 2015. Last year, we announced, at COP26, that they would join forces to reduce methane emissions. This international momentum was also behind Xi Jinping’s decision last September not to fund overseas coal-fired power projects.

The deterioration of the international situation, especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which China did not want to condemn, portends less commitment on both sides to the climate issue. This is a new example of the failure of multilateralism that emerged at the end of World War II, and which the renewed tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan will not analyze.

the customs. Even before Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei, several actions taken by the US administration against Chinese products led to supply chain disruptions in the renewable energy sector. Some Chinese solar panel suppliers have seen shipments to the United States suspended or returned by US customs officials, following directives banning the import of goods from Xinjiang, where Beijing is suspected of using forced labor for Uyghurs. Today, everything seems set to create obstacles to cooperation between the two countries, with cascading effects on the rest of the planet.

However, this does not mean that the Americans and the Chinese stand idly by. After the Senate, the US House of Representatives finally adopted, on August 12, Joe Biden’s master plan for investing in climate and health, which is supposed to take effect this week. Worth $430 billion, it will put the country on track to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.

For its part, China pledged in 2020 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and in early August issued a plan for high-carbon industries, such as steel plants and cement, to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030. “We remain committed to the transition away from fossil fuels. Zhang Jianhua, director of the National Energy Administration, asserts.The share of non-fossil fuels in the country’s total energy mix is ​​expected to increase by one point per year on average over the next eight years, from 16.6% in 2021.

Beijing will strengthen its work in the field of renewable energies and consolidate its position as a world leader in terms of investment in new energies. All these efforts are necessary for the rest of the planet but also for itself, inasmuch as it faces an increasing number of extreme meteorological phenomena. Analysis of the Chinese media makes it possible to understand its scale. While in 2019, 800,000 articles were devoted to it in China, in 2020 the number almost doubled, reaching 3.2 million last year.

Actions against global warming undoubtedly became one of the primary criteria for Communist Party officials, whatever their level, in their evaluation of their promotion.

Therefore this issue has become a priority in recent years in a country that remains the main source of greenhouse gases, and alone accounts for nearly 30% of the global volume. As Xiao Ma, a professor at Peking University, points out, this is undoubtedly one of the basic criteria for Communist Party officials, whatever their level, in their evaluation of promotion.

Citizen pressure. Getting close to the important XXe The Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for the fall, efforts to achieve the goals set by Beijing are analyzed with interest, especially since there is great pressure from the population. Several studies show that the Chinese authorities are particularly sensitive to the mobilization of citizens in this area, for fear of seeing it turn into a source of political protest. One of them, implemented in July-August 2021 by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, showed that 65% of those questioned believed that the issue of the environment, particularly pollution, is a fundamental problem in China. Under these circumstances, its authors believe that the commitment of Chinese citizens is one of the best guarantees for obtaining power.

Driven by the desire to reduce air pollution, enhance energy security and control the industries of the future, China has been the world’s largest investor in renewable energies since 2013. It has, in absolute terms, three times the renewable energy capacity of any other country. It is a pioneer in the electric vehicle sector. In 2019, about half of the world’s electric vehicles were traded and 98% of electric buses were there. Overall, China achieved nine of the 15 quantitative targets of its 2015 climate commitments ahead of schedule. Over the past decade, coal has gone from about 70% to 57% of its energy consumption.

So, given that the United States and China seem to be committed, individually, to controlling their own CO22It is absolutely necessary that they cooperate at the international level. The diplomatic impasse in which the two countries closed in on themselves could lead to the failure of talks during the next round of global climate negotiations, to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November. The meetings between the Americans and the Chinese were crucial to facilitating multilateral consensus at previous summits, which justifies Antonio Guterres’ outcry of concern.

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