Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Trump’s America cancelling billions of dollars of UN climate payments apparently opens the way for totalitarian China to assume the moral high ground in global environmental diplomacy.
Trump Win Clears Way For China to Lead on Climate
The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump as president is likely to end the U.S. leadership role in the international fight against global warming and may lead to the emergence of a new and unlikely champion: China.
China worked closely with the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama to build momentum ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The partnership of the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters helped get nearly 200 countries to support the pact at the historic meet in France’s capital.
By contrast, Trump has called global warming a hoax created by China to give it an economic advantage and said he plans to remove the United States from the historic climate agreement, as well as reverse many of Obama’s measures to combat climate change.
He has appointed noted climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to help lead transition planning for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has crafted the administration’s major environmental regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
Beijing is poised to cash in on the goodwill it could earn by taking on leadership in dealing with what for many other governments is one of the most urgent issues on their agenda.
“Proactively taking action against climate change will improve China’s international image and allow it to occupy the moral high ground,” Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and a senior Chinese climate talks negotiator, told Reuters.
Zou said that if Trump abandons efforts to implement the Paris agreement, “China’s influence and voice are likely to increase in global climate governance, which will then spill over into other areas of global governance and increase China’s global standing, power and leadership.”
To me this ridiculous positioning of China as the new environmental champion is simply more evidence of the toxic anti-Americanism and anti-Western politics at the heart of the global climate movement, and the moral bankruptcy of some leading climate advocates.
China, which recently announced a three year plan to increase coal capacity by a whopping 20%, an entire Canada worth of carbon emissions, should have been treated as a pariah by the global climate movement. Instead, they are being lauded as heroes and international leaders.