Chinese President Xi Jinping has been facing criticism from across the world after he avoided the global summit on climate change despite being a country that has one-quarter of the carbon emissions of the world.
COP26, the global summit on climate change was convened by the United Nations Organization (UNO) in Glasgow.
According to a Canada-based think tank, experts agree that without big reductions in China’s emissions, the world cannot win the fight against climate change.
President of China Xi Jinping’s absence from the COP26 climate summit has led to all-round disappointment. It is believed it is hard to arrest climate change when the biggest culprit polluting the environment does not show up, said International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).
US President Joe Biden who led from the front at the summit was stinging in his criticism of China for Xi skipping the summit and failing to show leadership in the climate crisis.
It was a “big mistake” that his Chinese counterpart had chosen not to attend the summit, Biden said, when more than 120 world leaders had spent two days discussing how to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C from the pre-industrial level.
“They didn’t show up. It is a gigantic issue and they just walked away,” he said, also taking a swipe at Russia and its president Vladimir Putin who, too, stayed away from the COP26 climate summit. How do they claim to have any leadership mantle,” the American President asked.
Former US President Barack Obama had also critised China and Russia for the absence of their leaders from the Glasgow meet. “It is discouraging to see that the leaders of these big emitters declined to attend the proceedings in Glasgow,” he said.
“Their national plans, so far, reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of these governments, and that’s a shame,” Obama said, participating in a round-table at the meet, IFFRAS reported.
China’s claim that it has been promoting clean energy under its BRI projects like solar, wind, and hydropower does not stand the test of scrutiny. Among energy sector loans provided by China Development Bank and China Exim Bank in BRI countries, oil, gas and the petroleum sectors still account for 43 percent of the loans, followed by 18 percent in the coal sector, it added.
“Data show that most Chinese deals in energy and transportation over the period reviewed (2014 – 2017) were tied to carbon-intensive sectors and did not show a strong alignment with the low-carbon priorities,” the think tank citing a study by World Resource Institute and Global Development Policy Centre reported.
The plan that China delivered on emissions on the eve of COP26, of achieving peak carbon emission by 2030 and zero net carbon emission by 2060, targets set more than a year ago, was found to be “disappointing” by analysts; leading to a hardening of stand against China by US President Joe Biden and representatives of the developed countries present at the Glasgow meet.
They wanted China to go much further in phasing out coal. Perhaps this led Chinese representative to Glasgow Xie Zhenhua to sign an agreement with his US counterpart John Kerry after the conclusion of the meet to boost efforts to cut emissions, including tackling of methane and illegal deforestation, and to establish a working group to focus on “concrete measures” and increase action in the 2020s, IFFRAS reported.
Analysts point out, however, that in the absence of Chinese supremo Xi Jinping at the conference Beijing will attach little importance to this working group.
Citing a BBC report, IFFRAS reported that China became the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2006 and is now responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
As per IFFRAS, President Xi Jinping refused to attend the climate summit possibly because China was expected to come under intense scrutiny at COP26 over its lack of commitments to reduce these. Not only air pollution, industries of Beijing also lead the world in emissions of mercury, a harmful neurotoxin.
A report of the US embassy of Georgia says that the noxious air pollution threatens not only the people of China but also global health and the economy of the world. An estimated 1.24 million people died from exposure to air pollution in the PRC in 2017, says the report, quoting the medical journal The Lancet, IFFRAS reported.
“Too much of the Chinese Communist Party’s economy is built on wilful disregard for air, land and water quality,” a former US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo said. (ANI)