US should keep its own house in order instead of criticizing China on environment

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/11 21:53:39

Before withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement, US President Donald Trump and his advisory team should have studied it more carefully, so that they could at least have offered some more convincing justifications instead of misleading remarks about China.

In response to Trump's speech on June 1, in which the president justified his decision to exit the Paris agreement by citing China's greenhouse gas emissions target as being unfair, Zhang Guobao, former director of China's National Energy Administration (NEA), said at a roundtable in Beijing on Friday that Trump had confused China's commitment to ensuring emissions peak by 2030 with China being allowed to build hundreds of additional coal-fired plants before 2030.

If anything, Trump's justification only reflects his lack of knowledge about the Paris agreement and misunderstanding of China's energy conditions.

First of all, the agreement doesn't specify the energy sources for any member, meaning that it doesn't give any permission to China for building new coal-fired plants. Although China did not set a specific emissions target, it pledged to control total coal consumption and increase the share of renewable energy to around 20 percent by 2030, which is in line with the country's actual conditions.

Moreover, it is practical for the agreement to treat developed and developing countries differently. Unlike the US, which in the past agreed to cut US emissions by 26-28 percent from the 2005 level by 2025, China, as a developing country, still needs time to allow its emissions to peak and to shift its energy reliance from coal to renewable sources.

Furthermore, there is no way for China to build hundreds of new coal-fired power plants based on the current energy policies. In May, the NEA said it would suspend approvals for new coal-fired power projects in 29 provinces due to the overcapacity risk in coal-fired power generation.

In fact, China has been making progress under the Paris pledge, with its greenhouse gas emissions staying stable for the past three years; and many experts expect that they could peak in the mid-2020s. Anyone who wants to find fault with China's emissions should recognize such efforts and facts first.

In addition, while Trump intends to protect jobs for the fossil fuel industry, he seems to have overlooked the interests of the US new-energy sector, which has already become an important source of employment. Maybe it would be better if Trump could have considered the bigger picture before rushing to make his decision.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


blog comments powered by Disqus