Ian Collins clashes with XR member over China’s role in climate change
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Alok Sharma, President-Designate of the COP26 summit, arrived in Beijing on the weekend in a last-ditch attempt to put pressure on the Chinese regime. With the United Nations’ 26th Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow just around the corner, nations are working against the clock to prove their commitment to tackling climate change. China, however, has emerged as something of an “outlaw power” by setting its own targets for carbon neutrality and refusing to engage with international partners on the issue.
The Chinese Government has announced the nation will reach peak carbon emissions by the year 2030, followed by a gradual decline and complete carbon neutrality by 2060.
For comparison, the UK has vowed to hit net-zero emissions a whole 10 years earlier.
China is by far the world’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gas, with recent reports suggesting 25 of the nation’s megacities are responsible for 52 percent of all urban greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Critics of the regime have also accused the Chinese Government of actively working against its own emission targets by approving a number of coal-powered power stations in recent months.
China has refused to adjust its carbon emission targets despite pressure (Image: GETTY)
China has vowed to become carbon neutral by the year 2060 (Image: GETTY)
Mr Sharma arrived in the city of Tianjin this Sunday to discuss the climate crisis with Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy.
According to a report in The Times, the meeting was set to discuss how the UK and China can “work together” to make the COP26 summit a success.
The UK envoy then met with vice-premier, Han Zheng for what has been described as a “constructive discussion”.
However, China has refused to cooperate, instead opting to stick to its original target of carbon neutrality by 2060.
An editorial published in the party-run Global Times, has accused Washington of exerting undue pressure on the Chinese regime and international community at large.
China has set out its roadmap towards net-zero emissions and the country “will stick to its own pace”.
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How the UK can lead the world in a green revolution (Image: EXPRESS)
The editorial read: “Uncertainties and risks remain for multilateral platforms such as the Glasgow summit due to Washington’s toxic approaches and it is imperative for the UK and the global community to avoid the global climate conference being held hostage by US political [ideologies].”
China has shown its reluctance to engage with the West last week following a disastrous meeting with John Kerry, the US climate envoy.
Mr Kerry travelled almost 15,000 miles to Tianjin to discuss the climate crisis with his Chinese counterparts, only to have the meetings hosted via video conference call.
He told the Chinese “climate change is not ideological, not partisan and not a geostrategic weapon,” stressing the importance of addressing the climate crisis.
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Alok Sharma travelled to China to put pressure on the regime (Image: GETTY)
The COP26 summit will be held in November in Glasgow (Image: GETTY)
Mr Kerry then told reporters after the meeting: “We have consistently said to China and other countries to do their best within their given capacity. We think that China can do more.”
Beijing, however, hit back and called on the US “to stop seeing China as a threat” and accused Washington of a “major strategic miscalculation towards” the country.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “It is impossible for China-US climate co-operation to be elevated above the overall environment of China-US relations.”
Because of the rising tension and China’s unwillingness to cooperate, the nation has been branded an “international outlaw”.
In an opinion piece for The Hil, Joseph Bosco of the Global Taiwan Institute said the climate crisis may be an opportunity to expose China’s failings on the international arena.
He wrote: “It may be that the climate change issue, which many of the world’s governments see as existential for humanity, will do what human rights concerns, trade violations, cyber theft and maritime and territorial aggression have failed to accomplish — that is, to demonstrate that China is an outlaw power that will have to be confronted by a global coalition of like-minded nations in a concerted, sustained manner, using economic, informational and other non-kinetic means before a military confrontation becomes inevitable.
“President Biden’s humiliating and catastrophic retreat from Afghanistan made that outcome dangerously more likely.”