Saturday, November 30, 2019

China, US Should Cooperate on Climate Change
By Li Qingqing
Global Times
2019/11/28 19:48:40

China's State Council Information Office released an annual report titled "China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2019)" on Wednesday. The report said China has basically reversed the situation of the country's rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday released its Emissions Gap Report 2019, saying greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise in the last decade. The report said, "Despite contributing significantly to the slowdown in global emissions from 2014 to 2016," China's emissions are now rising again.

But the UN should see that although China's emissions are rising, the trend of rapid growth has been reversed. Despite the recent rebound in China's coal power demand, China has adhered to a clean coal power supply system with strict standards. China is marching toward its target of net zero emissions, but this needs to be gradually accomplished.

China has been actively dealing with climate change and taking responsibility as a major power. This is completely different from the US stand. Since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang "declared war" on pollution in 2014, China has been improving its industrial efficiency and increasing investment in renewable energy. China has also been fulfilling its promises under the Paris Agreement. These are all outstanding accomplishments that should be applauded.

But it seems that the US has not shouldered its obligations at all. In the UNEP report, the US greenhouse gas emission per capita in 2018 was still much higher than that of the global average. In early November, US President Donald Trump formally started the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement. Trump also skipped a session devoted to climate change at the G7 summit in August, saying that he is not going to lose the "tremendous wealth" of the US "on dreams" and "on windmills."

But can that "tremendous wealth" help the US escape the extreme weather and natural disasters worldwide? No. In January, extreme cold weather hit Midwestern US, causing tens of deaths and many frostbite victims. In July, millions of Americans suffered from a dangerous and widespread heat wave, leading to power outages in the country. Such extreme weather not only hurts people, but also costs US companies more for repairs. Right now that climate change also harms the US economy. Is the Trump administration still not going to do anything about it? No country is an island when facing climate change. If the US insists on caring about nothing but its own short-term interests, it will be ruining its own future as well as that of others.

China-US cooperation has faced many difficulties after Trump assumed office. But the two countries still have opportunities to cooperate on climate change and many other hot global issues. As the 25th UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Spain on Monday, we hope the US, as a superpower and the largest economy, can meet China halfway on climate change.

China and the US have the common need to deal with climate change. The two countries now have different understandings of their responsibilities, but the Trump administration still should understand that when facing extreme weather, cooperation is the only way out. This is not only for the sake of the American people, but more importantly, for the future of mankind.

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