On Saturday, the State Department released the “U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis,” after Climate Czar John Kerry met with the Chinese.
The joint statement begins with:
- The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands. This includes both enhancing their respective actions and cooperating in multilateral processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Both countries recall their historic contribution to the development, adoption, signature, and entry into force of the Paris Agreement through their leadership and collaboration.
In case you needed further indication as to how important the United States views the “climate crisis,” it takes precedence to many other issues. As Steven Lee Myers with the New York Times reported:
The United States and China have said they will fight climate change “with the seriousness and urgency that it demands” by stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions, a rare demonstration of cooperation amid escalating tensions over a raft of other issues.
The agreement, which included few specific commitments, was announced on Saturday night, Washington time, after President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, visited China for three days of talks in which the negotiators managed not to be sidetracked by those disputes.
“It’s very important for us to try to keep those other things away, because climate is a life-or-death issue in so many different parts of the world,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview on Sunday morning in Seoul, where he met with South Korean officials to discuss global warming. “What we need to do is prove we can actually get together, sit down and work on some things constructively.”
Mr. Kerry met in Shanghai with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, over three days, in talks that at one point went late into the night. Mr. Kerry said they stayed focused on climate change and did not touch on increasingly rancorous disputes over issues like China’s political crackdown in Hong Kong and its threats toward Taiwan.
If by “those other things” which “it’s very important for us to try to keep… away,” Kerry means human rights abuses, then what the United States is saying is that climate change takes priority over calling the Chinese Communist Party out and telling them to knock it off when it comes to genocide and forced slave labor against the Uyghurs, pressuring Taiwan to reunify with the mainland, taking action against the Hong Kong protesters, and more.
As the United States has done with other issues, particularly when it comes to race, most recently with U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Kerry conceded to wrongdoing, playing right into a CCP talking point, yet again. “We’ve seen commitments before where everybody falls short,” Kerry said. “I mean, frankly, we’re all falling short. The entire world right now is falling short. This is not a finger-pointing exercise of one nation alone.”
In an interview with Sky News’ “Sophy Ridge on Sunday,” Kerry also apologized for the Trump presidency.
‘We are very sorry for the last four years when the president didn’t care about science.’@JohnKerry tells @SophyRidgeSky that “no one nation” can tackle climate change on its own.#Ridge: https://t.co/jC2xzcMCbv pic.twitter.com/3Itbc5I3Ae
— Sophy Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) April 18, 2021
Of course, it’s doubtful that China will even fulfill its obligations on this agreement. As Timothy Puko with the Wall Street Journal reported last week:
Rep. Garret Graves (R., La.)., the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, agreed that Mr. Kerry must press China to curb emissions. But he expressed skepticism that Mr. Kerry could ultimately get China to accept efforts to verify that it is fulfilling any promise to lower emissions.
“China’s going to do what’s in China’s interest,” Mr. Graves said. “So do I think they may be able to get something on paper where China agrees? Yeah, I think that’s possible. Do I think there’s any chance in hell that China actually follows through on those obligations? No, not a chance.”
Kerry’s trip to China comes just days before President Joe Biden is set to have a virtual conference on climate change. Xi Jinping, whom President Biden has met with and spoken to numerous times, has not publicly shared if he’ll attend or not.
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