GT Voice: Glasgow climate conference can’t be hijacked by the US
Published: Sep 06, 2021 09:13 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

As the global climate change conference in Glasgow, the UK, draws closer, diplomatic efforts to prepare for the crucial meeting is ramping up. The UK's senior climate change official Alok Sharma is currently on a visit to China for meetings with senior government and business representatives, Reuters reported on Monday. One of his purposes is to discuss how to work together to ensure the successful holding of the Glasgow summit in November.

"I welcome China's commitment to climate neutrality by 2060 and look forward to discussing China's policy proposals towards this goal, its plans for submitting an enhanced 2030 emissions reduction target, as well as how we work towards a successful multilateral outcome at COP26," the Reuters report cited Sharma as saying.

To a certain extent, the relatively positive statement underlined the UK's genuine efforts to create a cooperative atmosphere for discussing climate issues with China. If the UK can maintain such a positive attitude, there will be sufficient room for cooperation between the two countries in tackling climate change.

The UK's preparation for the upcoming Glasgow climate change conference is laudable, but the summit also faces some uncertainties and risks posed primarily by the US. It should be pointed out that if the UK and the global community seek to achieve some tangible results from the meeting, they cannot allow Washington to hijack the summit for its ill geopolitical intentions. 

Compared with the Trump administration, the Biden administration appears to be more interested in at least talking about tackling climate issues. However, it has also become increasingly clear that Washington may want to use climate issues as another excuse to crack down on others and advance its own geopolitical agenda.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry's visit to China last week offered sufficient indication as to whether the US is seeking pragmatic cooperation or exerting pressure on others when it comes to climate issues. 

Even before Kerry's visit to China, US media reports already suggested that his main purpose would be to press China to stop financing coal-fired energy projects. That is a perfect example of how the US adopts double standards when it comes to tackling climate change. 

By emphasizing China's coal-fired power plants, the US selectively ignores the country's clean energy efforts. The US has achieved some progress in renewable energy-related technologies, but China has invested far more in clean energy than the US.

After meetings with senior Chinese officials, Kerry warned that China's plans for new coal plants could "undo the capacity of the world to reach net-zero by 2050," according to media reports. 

But the irony is that the US per capita emission is almost twice the level in China. The complete lack of objectivity and candor is a telling indication that when Kerry said that the climate issue is not geopolitical, Washington elites can't resist but to turn every issue into a geopolitical game.

China has not only adopted an open attitude toward global cooperation in tackling climate change but also actively promoted such cooperation. However, it should also be clear that any attempt to use the climate issue to extend other geopolitical goals will not work on China. China has already announced its own climate road map and will stick to its own pace. 

But uncertainties and risks remain for multilateral platforms such as the Glasgow summit due to Washington's toxic approaches and it is imperative for the UK and the global community to avoid the global climate conference being held hostage by US political ideologues.