US and China power struggle to be seen at climate summit – Community News
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US and China power struggle to be seen at climate summit

Disputes over pledges to tackle climate change are the latest flash point in US-China tensions.

Biden has reprimanded China in recent days, saying President Xi Jinping’s decision to skip a United Nations (UN) climate summit was a “big mistake” as it would diminish Beijing’s influence. China then hit back at the US over the criticism.

The sparks show that even on issues that require international cooperation, such as climate change, the tense relationship between the US and China still reverberates.

World leaders and top negotiators are currently meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, where they will make climate announcements and work to finalize implementation rules for the global Paris agreement.

Biden attended the conference for two days and is sending a large delegation of cabinet secretaries. Although China also has a delegation, Xi chose not to attend.

“The fact that China, understandably trying to claim a new role in the world as a global leader, is not showing up? Come on. The single most important thing that has gotten the world’s attention is the climate, everywhere,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s just a huge problem, and they ran away. How do you do that and claim to have a leadership mantle?”

China hit back and Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “Actions speak louder than words.”

“What we need to tackle climate change is concrete action rather than empty words,” he said. “China’s actions in response to climate change are real.”

By going ahead, Biden may try to make a positive impression on the US’s commitment to climate change, while Xi has missed an opportunity to connect directly with other world leaders.

At the climate summit, Biden also hosted a session on the Build Back Better World initiative, a global infrastructure plan he launched this summer with other world leaders that aims to provide a climate-friendly alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative for developing countries.

Jennifer Turner, director of the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum, said that while Xi was not there, China is “still in the driver’s seat.”

“The world needs to deal with them,” Turner said, pointing out that China is the world’s largest emitter.

But she added it could be an opportunity for the Biden administration to “rekindle all the clean energy relationships” that were damaged under the Trump administration.

And US climate policy can fluctuate wildly depending on who’s in power. Morgan Bazilian, a former European Union (EU) representative at the UN’s climate change negotiations, told The Hill that this fact made it all the more important for the US to show up.

“Biden had to appear at this year’s COP to show that the United States was back at the table,” Bazilian said. “I’m not sure it’s that important for other heads of state to show up unless they have something to communicate.”

However, Charles Kupchan, who served on the National Security Council under the Obama administration, said the absence of both China and Russia from the Group of 20 (G-20) and COP26 meetings should serve as a warning sign.

“I think the fact that neither Russia nor China showed up to the G-20 or the COP26 underlines the extent to which we have a problem, and that problem is that global governance today requires cooperation across ideological divides, and we are still there. not, and whether we’ll get there is an open question,” Kupchan said.

US officials have repeatedly denounced China’s climate action as inadequate. The country plans to reach its climate-warming emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2060.

It also announced earlier this year at a virtual White House meeting that it would cut its coal use from 2026 and “strictly limit” its increase in coal use until then.

The target for 2060 is ten years behind the target of the US and many other developed countries.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

It has said limiting warming to this level would help evade the worst effects of climate change.

But China refuted that the US had more time to develop, while China is still developing and therefore deserves more time to get rid of fossil fuels.

A group of countries, including China, recently released a statement saying that a global push for net zero by 2050 would increase inequality.

Meanwhile, the US and EU have also recently put China at a trade disadvantage by targeting “dirty” steel.

They announced a partnership in which they plan to negotiate a settlement to address the “carbon intensity and global overcapacity” of steel and aluminum products.

Turner said the move would “close” China in the steel trade.

And it was also seen by some politicians as a China-related problem, with Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Campbell BrownUS, China sees power struggle at White House climate summit, banking watchdogs call for tighter controls on stablecoin Graham told cops on Jan. 6 to use their guns on rioters: report MORE (D-Ohio) called the deal in a statement an “important first step in tackling China’s overcapacity and steel dumping that has cost Ohio jobs.”

Biden has laid out a broader foreign policy strategy towards China that involves managing and succeeding in competing with China, but avoiding conflict.

Still, tensions between the US and China have flared on several fronts, including Chinese military activity near Taiwan. At times, Biden’s strong stance on China on human rights violations and other practices has hampered his administration’s climate efforts. Earlier this year, the Biden administration banned imports of solar equipment from a Chinese company that officials say engages in forced labor.

Biden is expected to virtually meet with Xi sometime before the end of the year for his first bilateral engagement to his Chinese counterpart since taking office.

The government insists it can both confront China on areas of disagreement or concern, and find ways to work with Beijing on areas of mutual interest.

“Precisely because we live in a world that is so globalized and interdependent, we will have to learn to compete where we have to and cooperate where we have to, and that will require compartmentalization,” Kupchan said.

“We will disagree with the Chinese on Hong Kong, on Taiwan, on human rights, on trade, while at the same time looking for ways to work with them on climate, global health, cyber issues and nuclear proliferation,” he said. he. .