Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to BBC’s Roger Harrabin, “… Greenpeace and WWF have offices in Beijing and if they rattle China too hard, they could be swiftly closed down”.
Climate change: Should green campaigners put more pressure on China to slash emissions?
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst
China will be urged at the UN next week to speed up the timetable for curbing its planet-heating carbon emissions.
It will be nudged by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who’s experiencing climate pressure himself from activists blocking motorways.
But is the UK, with its world-leading emissions targets, the right target for demonstrators?
China produces 28% of global emissions and the UK just 1%. So shouldn’t they be picketing the Chinese embassy instead of the M25 motorway?
On the face of it, that seems a reasonable question. And some veteran activists would indeed support a well-judged China protest – we’ll come to that later.
But when I initially asked the radical green group Extinction Rebellion (XR) if they had considered demonstrating against China, it triggered a furious response.
An XR member tweeted accusing me of perpetuating anti-Chinese racist stereotypes and failing to report climate change properly.
Why so vitriolic?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is practical: climate campaigning groups like Greenpeace and WWF have offices in Beijing and if they rattle China too hard, they could be swiftly closed down.
“I would put small, polite pickets at every Chinese embassy worldwide. The Chinese authorities listen most to something coming from several different sources at the same time.
“It would also preserve Chinese “face” more than a big single demonstration, and would almost certainly not make news – so it wouldn’t be picked up by the deniers.”
…Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58584976
I understand why greens don’t want to target China on the ground inside China. China is pretty scary when you annoy them, if you are in their power. On the way to Taipei, three names read out in Hong Kong, I was the only person present. I was taken to a room, no words, a red army guard just glared at me for a full minute, before finally waving me towards the door. I can take a hint.
And there was that time Greenpeace tried to occupy an oil rig in the Russian arctic. I don’t think they’ll try that again in a hurry.
But being diffident about protesting in front of the Chinese Embassy, in a free country like Britain, making ridiculous excuses about how the “deniers” might notice them targeting China, is just pathetic.