Beijing ignores climate code red
BEIJING: China has said it will not yield to global pressure to further improve its climate change commitments at the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
It comes as US President Joe Biden visited survivors of the devastating Hurricane Ida in New York and New Jersey, warning the world is facing a “code red” on climate change.
“We’ve got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts – they all tell us this is code red,” Mr Biden said in the hard-hit New York borough of Queens, which he toured after visiting Manville, New Jersey.
“The nation and the world are in peril. That’s not hyperbole. That is a fact,” he added.
But China said it was refusing to do more to stave off climate change as Alok Sharma, the UK’S senior climate change representative, arrived in Beijing for pre-summit talks with the intention of persuading China to “enhance” its targets to curb carbon emissions.
An official Chinese pledge that its carbon emissions will peak by 2030 has resulted in recent months in a flurry of provincial governments commissioning new coal-fired power stations to be built.
Mr Sharma flew to the northern city of Tianjin for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy, on “how we work together” to ensure the Cop26 summit is successful.
For its part, China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, said it would not adjust its targets that carbon use will peak by 2030 and that it will be carbon neutral by 2060.
“China has already announced its own climate road map and will stick to its own pace,” an editorial in the Glo
bal Times, a party-run newspaper, declared.
“Uncertainties and risks remain for multilateral platforms such as the Glasgow summit due to Washington’s toxic approaches,” it added.
China told John Kerry, the US climate envoy who visited the country for talks last week, that the climate issue could not be divorced from the “serious miscalculations” Washington had made in its wider relations with Beijing.
The West has urged China to come up with more aggressive near-term measures to curb coal production and consumption. Yet even though President Xi has made environmental preservation a priority, Beijing is keen to maintain its rapid economic development.
Mr Biden – who is pushing a giant infrastructure spending bill, including major funding for the green economy – said extreme recent weather events across the US were a harbinger of worse to come.
“This is everybody’s crisis,” the President said. “These disasters aren’t going to stop. They’re going to come with more frequency and ferocity.
“I think we’re at one of those inflection points where we’re going to act or we’re going to be in real trouble.”
Ida wreaked havoc on the US east coast. The final blast of the storm killed at least 47 people in the US Northeast.