President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to sign an executive order Jan. 20 — the day he is inaugurated — to return the U.S. to the Paris climate accords, an international agreement by nearly 200 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming.
The next step for Biden is spending the massive sum of $1.7 trillion to achieve the reductions.
Look, I’m not a climate change denier. I believe climate change is real. Any history buff does, if you’ve read Shakespeare or studied the early Viking travels, when the Atlantic was calmer.
But the flood of climate change activism in foreign policy is scary and unrealistic.
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China is the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, responsible for 29% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s double the U.S. percentage. If China won’t live up to its treaty regarding its treatment of Hong Kong, do you think Chinese leaders are keen on limiting the amount of carbon dioxide their nation emits?
The truth is that China is eager to promote alternatives to fossil fuels because it has a huge economic interest in selling solar energy products. Seven of the world’s 10 biggest solar panel manufacturers are owned by China. Biden’s climate spending bonanza will benefit China because the massive overhaul will put a huge demand on “green” products.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party is only paying lip service to climate policy. The fact is that we have yet to see China uphold treaty and international legal commitments. At the October Communist Party meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to make China carbon-neutral by 2060. That’s 10 years later than other nations.
OK, you go first, China tells the world. It’s a meaningless pledge and sadly, it shows how toothless the Paris accords are.
The Climate Action Tracker says Biden’s $1.7 trillion plan could reduce global warming by 0.1 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. The current global goal is apparently a 1.5 degree Celsius reduction. In other words, that $1.7 trillion only buys a drop in the bucket.
This is because China is the major climate problem on planet Earth. The rise of China enabled by Western cash and trade has created a climate monster.
Chinese greenhouse gas emissions soared 353% from 1990 to 2017. In that same period, U.S. emissions went down 0.4%. This correlates with China’s industrialization as Xi gets his people to “moderate prosperity” and can only be slowed by China.
The Green New Deal climate policies take advantage of our natural love for the rivers, forests, plains and seas. While blaming the U.S. for climate problems, many of the policies Biden initiates will be a smokescreen for direct benefits to energy companies.
According to the MIT Technology Review, the 2009 Obama administration stimulus included $90 billion for green jobs. Where did all that go? Don’t forget solar cell startup Solyndra, which bilked the American taxpayers out of $500 million before going bankrupt in 2011.
Biden’s plans call for negative emissions technologies, which range from planting trees to carbon capture and storage.
But while Americans can pay for megatons of carbon capture, the Chinese could still ruin the planet all by themselves. This is because our planet’s atmosphere does not respect national boundaries and air flows from one country to many others. If America cuts carbon dioxide emissions and China keeps emitting at a high rate, the Chinese negate the impact of the American cuts.
Simply rejoining the Paris accords and opening the cash gusher is not the way to improve America’s air, water and renewable energy sector.
China cannot be trusted. This summer, a 300-ship Chinese fleet of trawlers, refueling ships and fish-processing ships pillaged the waters near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Marine Reserve is a U.N.-protected site, but China’s fleet used overhead lights and industrial jigging to catch squid vital to the diet of the Galapagos fur seals and endangered hammerhead sharks. Ecuador’s defense officials reported many of the Chinese ships turned off their tracking signals. Disgusting.
“They are killing the species we protected and polluting our biota with the plastic waste they drop overboard. They are raping the Galapagos Islands,” Angel Janez Vinueza, mayor of Ecuador’s Santa Cruz province, said Oct. 20.
Clean air, clean water and climate monitoring are all important. My husband and I tend our itty-bitty piece of Chesapeake shoreline to the point we’ve actually produced organic hay to reduce chemical run-off. (Real farmers may laugh now, because organic hay is not a profitable crop compared to corn or soybeans.)
We dig tires out of 1970s trash pits and plant trees. In 2018, we dug up a sapling Tulip Poplar from the Popeye’s Chicken drive-through and transplanted it in our yard. We have neighbors who rebuild oyster beds, restore streams, shelter Super Monarch butterflies, purchase land to protect with agricultural easements, and keep the secret of where the bald eagles nest.
True climate stewardship is very hard work. The planet won’t get there without China, and big spending on so-called green stimulus and Paris climate accords publicity is not the way either.