Between the Chinese Communist Party's crackdown on freedom in Hong Kong, its enslavement of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang concentration camps, and its cover-up of the pandemic's origin, the regime's popularity has taken a hit across the globe and across the political spectrum. A global Pew Research Center poll found that more than 70% of the populations of the United States, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Australia, and South Korea view China unfavorably, and stateside, Democratic opposition to China jumped 21 percentage points to 62%, joining Republicans in majority-unfavorable positions toward the country.
But one outlier remains: American progressives calling on President Joe Biden to ease up on the regime, citing the need for its cooperation on climate change. Per Politico, a letter from more than 40 groups will beckon Biden to “eschew the dominant antagonistic approach to U.S.-China relations and instead prioritize multilateralism, diplomacy, and cooperation with China to address the existential threat that is the climate crisis.”
John Kerry, Biden's climate envoy, has long embraced the CCP, going so far as to host a member of the Politburo in his Boston home while serving as Barack Obama's secretary of state, and lefties such as Bernie Sanders have long overlooked the human rights abuses of communist dictatorships such as the CCP and the Soviet Union. But the emerging climate change defense is nothing but a lie orchestrated to keep the last communist superpower engaged with the West.
China does indeed bear more responsibility for climate change than any other nation on the planet. The country emits double the amount of greenhouse gases that the U.S. does, and its emissions comprise a third of the global total. It's responsible for half of the world's total consumption of coal, which in turn powers two-thirds of the nation's energy consumption. And all of this ignores the climate change it creates in other countries.
China's Belt and Road Initiative has rendered it the largest financier of fossil fuel infrastructure on the planet, and as early as the beginning of the century, Chinese exports produced 36% of the world's anthropogenic sulfur dioxide, 27% of its nitrogen oxides, 22% of its carbon monoxide, and 17% of its black carbon. (The latter can absorb a million times more energy than carbon dioxide, rendering it a greenhouse gas orders of magnitude worse for climate change.) And despite signing the Paris climate accord to cap global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, current Chinese measures are projected to increase warming by 2.7 degrees globally.
All of this is to say that China is the world's worst climate change culprit, knows it, and has no plan to change it. They have no intention of cooperating with the West on the crisis, so they must be worked around, not with.
If the Sunrise Movement and its ilk were serious about climate change, they would push to move global supply chains and trade out of China. Some companies have already begun to move manufacturing out of China and into Vietnam, which has invested in clean energy to the point that renewables comprise 40% of the nation's entire energy capacity. As a result, the Census Bureau found a 36% increase in American imports made in Vietnam at the same time that imports from China fell by 16%.
But more can be done. Biden can and should tether trade agreements with our allies to divesting from Chinese manufacturing, a feat that is fully possible considering that of 16 major economies polled by Pew, a vast majority of 15 of the countries valued economic ties with the U.S. over China. The most Biden can do for our domestic crusade against climate change would be the expansion and development of the nation's waning nuclear energy, but coalescing global trade out of China could arguably do even more for the rest of the planet.
China will not cooperate with the West, and rather than fear that Biden will turn the CCP into the new USSR, we ought to embrace it. Too bad for the tankies who will lose their last powerful ally abroad.
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