Bitter US partisan strife proliferates to global stage, hampers COP27 climate response
Published: Nov 11, 2022 09:17 PM
US division Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US division Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

When US President Joe Biden spoke at the COP27 in Egypt hoping to show the world the image of a global leader on climate action, he faced an international audience with the majority having seen through the US' lack of reliability in keeping promises, Chinese observers said, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought US domestic partisanship to COP27 for political purposes, further damaging the US' international reputation. 

Biden addressed the United Nations climate talks on Friday, stressing American leadership at a time when the country is facing broad criticism for being the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in history. 

One day ahead of Biden's planned speech at COP27, Pelosi showed up at the UN global climate summit on Thursday using the international arena to criticize Republicans, saying there has been a disagreement on the climate crisis between the parties. 

According to Guardian, Pelosi said Republicans have said, "'Why are we having this discussion? There is no climate crisis. It's all a hoax.' We have to get over that. This is urgent, long overdue."

Pelosi's remarks came as the results of the US midterm elections were yet to be finalized, but with Republicans slowly moving closer to taking control of the House of Representatives, which will enable them to block Biden's legislative agenda, including those on climate actions. 

The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC Nov 10, 2022. The balance of power in the next U.S. Congress is still undecided as of late Thursday night, two days after the 2022 midterm elections. Photo:Xinhua

The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC Nov 10, 2022. The balance of power in the next U.S. Congress is still undecided as of late Thursday night, two days after the 2022 midterm elections. Photo:Xinhua

Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday that it's clear that Pelosi tried to depict Republicans as the culprit behind the ineffective global response to the climate crisis in order to help Democrats gain more international support and more understanding from domestic voters. 

"It's ironic that Pelosi actually brought American partisan politics to the stage of COP27, which shows that the US has no credibility and US policy is inconsistent and hypocritical on climate actions," Li said. 

"Pelosi's remarks have damaged the US' international reputation, but she could not care less. It seems she would do anything to enhance Democrats' political power," Li said. 

Chinese observers believed that the majority of the international community is fully aware of the US' inconsistent policy and growing partisan hostility, and many have raised concerns that any commitments Biden makes during COP27 may be hard to realize if Republicans control the House. 

According to NPR, Biden will reiterate that he wants to "help the most vulnerable build resilience to climate impacts" on Friday. 

Biden has said several times on international occasions that he will increase US climate aid to $11 billion by 2024, but even American media doubted whether he would be able to keep that pledge. 

Time magazine said in a report that Biden's prospects looked diminished after the midterm elections, as Republicans look set to retake the House. 

The New York Times said on Thursday that if Republicans are in charge, "there will be less money, not more, to help foreign nations cope with climate change, as well as fresh efforts to slow down or block the president's climate agenda."

This year's COP27 has included loss and damage compensation in talks, in response to developing nations' persistent demands. 

Li said that any climate-related promises regarding finance will not be fulfilled in the US after Republicans control the House, indicating that any ambitious commitment on climate actions made by the Biden administration would be unreliable. 

"The US is now a disruptive force in the global climate response rather than a force to unite the world, and certainly is not a global leader as it claims," Li said. 

Instead of implementing its promises, the US has been accusing China of not being cooperative in tackling the global climate crisis. Chinese observers pointed out that climate cooperation efforts between China and the US were singlehandedly bungled by Washington as it neglected Beijing's core interests and weaponized the climate issue to suppress China.  

However, China is a country that walks the walk when it comes to climate response. 

China's special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua said at COP27 that China is willing to, though not obliged to, help developing countries enhance their adaptability through South-South cooperation, and China has provided 2 billion yuan ($275.8 million) to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Xie urged developed countries to fulfill their pledges made at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference more than a decade ago to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries.