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China Puts Economy First, Climate Last

June 16, 2021

By Paul Homewood

This bit of news may all sound a bit arcane, but it is actually hugely significant:


Authorities have limited the scope of a carbon-trading scheme as driving growth takes priority

China’s top economic planners have put the brakes on attempts by environmental officials to reduce carbon emissions as driving growth takes priority over meeting climate targets for now, according to people familiar with the matter.
Officials at China’s main economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, have limited the initial scope of a national carbon-trading system, which is set to go into full operation later this month after pilot projects in eight Chinese cities.

The economic planning office has also gained the upper hand in negotiations over drafting a detailed road map to fulfil leader Xi Jinping’s pledges to achieve a peak in carbon-dioxide emission before 2030 and
net zero emissions by 2060, the people said.
The environmental ministry has risen in prominence over the past decade and had in recent months appeared to be
newly empowered to exert more influence, but the recent developments show the economic agency, which sets China’s energy and emissions targets, still has greater clout.

The dynamic of competing environmental and economic priorities is hardly unique to China. Lawmakers in the U.S. have blocked attempts to pass a national cap-and-trade market for carbon emissions over concerns about the impact on businesses and the economy, although California and states in the northeast have adopted their own systems.

China’s actions are being closely watched as the world’s largest carbon emitter. Mr. Xi has said that China will reach a peak in its carbon emissions before 2030, but he hasn’t elaborated on how the country will achieve that goal.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has urged his counterpart Xie Zhenhua to
pursue more ambitious climate actions in the near term, but hasn’t said specifically what he is urging China to do. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations are expected to discuss putting pressure on China to reduce its financing for coal projects overseas when they meet this weekend in the U.K. 

After Mr. Xi’s pledge in September, one of his top lieutenants, Vice-Premier Han Zheng, called in October for environmental officials to accelerate the launch of a national carbon market and formulate a carbon road map, signalling to Chinese policy observers that they would be charged with drafting the plans for meeting the targets.


But in March when
China’s cabinet enumerated the bodies charged with drafting the road map, the economic planning agency was listed first—not the environmental officials. Beijing also set up a group of high-level party members last month to cut across bureaucratic structures, issue guidance and oversee the road map. Three out of the five members of its leadership were senior economic cadres.
Separately, when the environmental ministry released the initial rules for the emissions trading system in December, they were more limited than initially proposed.

The scheme will, for instance, involve only about 2,200 companies in the power sector, which is responsible for an estimated 30% of China’s total emissions, instead of the 6,000 companies from eight sectors that were in the initial proposal.
Rather than the absolute caps on emissions proposed by environmental officials, Chinese companies will start off with relative allowances, using benchmarks based on previous years’ performances, giving them more wiggle-room.
Behind the scenes, economic planners had weakened provisions of the scheme, fearing the potential impact on growth, according to people familiar with the matter.


What it tells us is that the environmental lobby in China is toothless, the proverbial paper tiger.

I have always had doubts about the power and independence of the green lobby there. After all, we know that no organisation is truly independent of the state, or at least not for long! This news does indeed confirm that they are little more than window dressing, there to impress western governments than wield any real power.

When the chips are down, China will always put the economy first.

  1. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 16, 2021 9:17 pm

    I see that today’s big theme from Gummer and his acolytes (BBC and newspapers) is that the UK is not prepared for the inevitable climate change that is coming and will experience black-outs. The luvvies seem surprised that closing useful power-stations and increasing power demand does not work-out. Not their fault of course…… who’s then?

    Apparently 1.5 deg K rise above the mythical value will cause floods, heatwave deaths etc – especially stupid as the rise is already about 1 deg K!

  2. June 16, 2021 10:26 pm

    Martin Jacques is worth listening to. The focus and adaptability of the governing elite, in pursuit of a public good rather than private advantage, in China, is plainly superior.

    Here, on the other hand, there is a chronic imbalance in the distribution of income and wealth. The economy is floating on credit. The military-industrial complex seeks an edge by getting the taxpayer to finance gain of function experiments performed in China where the work ethic and the cost of labour creates the most fertile environment, unleashing a plague. Big Pharma has the clout to ensure that hastily prepared vaccines are endorsed. Cheap and effective prophylactic’s are out of patent. Ivermectin, the ‘miracle drug’ that stops the virus in its tracks, is banned. Captains of Industry and finance, with an eye over their shoulder due to an embarrassment of riches, and easy pickings associated with zero interest rates, endorse policies that will impoverish the masses, in pursuit of an agenda from the left that is endorsed by the very wealthy, academia. the press and the so called ‘conservatives’, that is plainly destructive and unbelievably stupid. What are the ‘conservatives about’? Right, left, the middle? Is there any sense, anywhere?

    As Joe Nova suggests: ‘A perfectly good civilization going to waste’. But is this sort of civilization worth saving? Western civilization is dis-eased. The problems are too numerous, The processes of adjustment are not working and the end will be, as ends habitually are, ‘terminal’. The whole cumbersome thing has become unfunctional. Over the edge we go.

  3. Andrew Harding permalink
    June 16, 2021 10:39 pm

    China understands the nonsensical socialist agenda of climate change and its impact on the West. The Western morons who subscribe to this narrative, will allow our economies to self-destruct and China to be the dominant world power.

    As conspiracy theories go, this seems impossible, but it is true! UN Agendas 2021 and 2030 confirm this.

    Sheep led to the slaughter!

    We are governed by scientifically, ignorant cretins!

  4. tom0mason permalink
    June 17, 2021 12:12 am

    But in March when China’s cabinet enumerated the bodies charged with drafting the road map, the economic planning agency was listed first—not the environmental officials.
    So the CCP is ensuring that the economy comes first and this will drive social improvement in China.
    Humm, sounds like they have a ‘China First’ policy.

    Funny, advocating a ‘UK First’, or ‘America First’, or even an ‘EU First’ would immediately have the MSM out in their droves vilifying their politics, publishing comparisons with past fascist regimes. But this is China so nothing will be published criticizing the CCP.

    • June 17, 2021 1:47 am

      I was reflecting this morning about the CCP rewriting history to suit its purposes, About the desire to elevate the leader and have everyone fall in behind him. Then I considered the notion of ‘Cabinet Solidarity’ which enforces the same sort of discipline in the governing party and the idea of a ‘Caucus’ introduced by the Labor Party to get the elected members, upon pain of deselection, to toe the party line when it came to voting in parliament.

      Just now reading about Daniel Elseberg, the whistleblower who spilled the Pentagon papers documenting successive US administrations approach to the tragically misguided war in Vietnam. Howard Hunt went out to get him instructing Charles Colson to put together a file containing all available ‘overt, covert and derogatory’ information.

      Now I’m remembering the tipping out of Australian Prime ministers, one after the other the issue being whether we were going to have a carbon tax of one sort or another.

      I’m thinking about Morrison, the guy who took a chunk of coal into the parliament and his completely unexpected victory in the last election. He got that right even if he seems to be ‘all the way with LBJ’ with Trump and Biden in stirring up the Chinese.

      Now we are being told that a flotilla of well armed Chinese fishing boats are about to arrive off the coast of Australia to do the same thing that the US sixth Fleet does in the China Sea.

      I think that the Chinese Communist Party is much more Chinese than Communist.

      We need leaders who will chart a course that people are happy to follow. That, quite plainly, is what happens in China until someone stuffs it up, and in their terms ‘loses the mandate of Heaven’. So far as I can see, to use a cricketing term, the CCP is getting the runs on the score board and according to many, the government that achieves the highest approval ratings from it’s citizens of any government on the planet.

      What other nation has appointed an engineer to run the country?

      • tom0mason permalink
        June 17, 2021 4:00 am

        Exellent observation Erl Happ, in the UK too, “Then I considered the notion of ‘Cabinet Solidarity’ which enforces the same sort of discipline in the governing party…” the very notion of a plurality of views within either the UK Labour or UK Conservative parties appears to be an anathema to both. Too often political parties now believe that strength is through all members being in ‘lock-step’ behind the leader regardless of any foolish action proposed by this leader, with the whips ensuring all others are silenced or exiled from voicing their dissent.
        UK politics has rapidly gone from being childish to being childlike.

        The CCP punishment is much harder with forced hard labor for thousands of Uighurs and dissenters, jailed prisoner used as a resource for body parts.
        And for lesser ‘crimes’ many thousands of citizens to be denied basic freedoms, being socially excluded from using banks, or transport, by enforcing a restricted diet through regulating where and what food such people can buy, and severely limiting all private & public contact because of their low social score — oppression by other means; via a radical ‘cancel culture’. All this happens while the majority of the Chinese population has little meaningful contact with the outside world as all lines of communications are heavily regulated and very limited.

  5. chriskshaw permalink
    June 17, 2021 3:10 am

    This analysis states oil production from shale will not rebound and markets will be tight.

  6. chriskshaw permalink
    June 17, 2021 3:10 am

    This analysis states oil production from shale will not rebound and markets will be tight.

  7. June 17, 2021 3:33 am

    Great post. Thanks.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 17, 2021 9:09 am

    China is run by Xi. Nobody else matters. If anybody believes he will sacrifice his goals for China on the altar of Western environmentalism they are deluded.

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