On Friday, August 1, Beijing announced the suspension of its cooperation with the United States on several issues, notably the fight against global warming, in response to the visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan. China and the United States, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, nonetheless tied a surprising climate agreement at the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year.
China “Hijack the global warming issue in the Taiwan caseChina specialist and researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research, Antoine Bondaz, regretted Saturday on franceinfo.
France Info: Is China’s suspension of dialogue with the United States opportunistic or a means of pressure?
Antoine Bondaz: It is opportunistic in the sense that China, voluntarily, is keen to link the Taiwan issue with other issues, especially global issues, including global warming. There is a will from China to try to get concessions from the US on Taiwan even though the Americans have not changed their policy towards the island. Our Chinese pressure strategy on the United States risks, in effect, giving a very bad image to China, which takes the issue of global warming hostage in the case of Taiwan.
Does the suspension of dialogue mean that China will stop making climate efforts?
Next, we should not over-interpret this Chinese decision for the time being. It is not because China has suspended climate negotiations with the United States that it cannot continue to make efforts and talk about it with other countries.
“The suspension of this dialogue does not mean that tomorrow China will significantly increase its carbon emissions, for example.”Antoine Bondaz, researcher specializing in China
Has China really made progress on its commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060?
China has taken action. In particular, it was included in its 14th Five-Year Plan to try to reduce the energy intensity and carbon intensity of its economy. But China’s problem today is its energy mix, which is still heavily dependent on coal. Last year, China accounted for 54% of the world’s coal consumption. We talk a lot about Poland in Europe, which accounts for 1% of the world’s coal consumption. China is making great efforts to install its electricity generation capacity from renewable sources. The country accounts for 25% of the world’s installed solar and wind capacity, 30% of hydraulic capacity and just under 15% of the world’s installed nuclear capacity. It is true that China has made great efforts over the past 20 years in the field of electricity production that does not emit greenhouse gases, but unfortunately this is not enough. Perhaps what is lacking today is a Chinese plan to be credible, i.e. how will China do concretely by 2060 to achieve carbon neutrality. There are some positive points, Xi Jinping announced a few months ago that from 2025 coal consumption will be reduced, however this coal issue is fundamental in China.