Skip to content

China warns US: Back off or we’ll sink climate cooperation

September 3, 2021

By Paul Homewood

Inevitably China, already emboldened, are flexing their muscles after the Biden disaster show in Afghanistan:


Unsurprisingly, Biden’s credibility crisis is being exploited by China which is demanding that the US back off challenging China’s political and economic ambitions or face opposition to Biden’s climate agenda.

In a video meeting with US climate envoy John Kerry China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that

the US has made a major strategic misjudgement against China. Now that the ball is in the US court, the US should stop seeing China as a threat and opponent, and stop the whole world from besieging and suppressing China…”

The main problem a significantly weakened US administration now faces is that after the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, Joe Biden and his climate envoy look rather weak. Having made the climate and Net Zero agenda his key policy priority, Biden is inviting China’s leaders to call his bluff and challenge the US head on.

China tells U.S. prolonged tensions would hurt climate cooperation

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told U.S. climate envoy John Kerry that prolonged tensions between the world’s two major powers would make it difficult for them to work together in the climate field, according to official Chinese media.

Wang’s remarks on Wednesday came as Beijing has been at odds with Washington over several issues, including its alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, and security challenges to Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Kerry, secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, has been in China’s Tianjin since Tuesday. He and Wang held talks by video link, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The United States had described climate change cooperation as an “oasis” of China-U.S. relations, but if it is all surrounded by deserts, then sooner or later the oasis will turn to desert, Wang was quoted by Xinhua as telling Kerry.

China-U.S. cooperation on climate change serves the interests of both sides and the world as well as enjoying broad development prospects, but such cooperation cannot be sustained without an improvement in bilateral relations, Wang said.

Wang also urged the United States to stop viewing China as a threat and rival, cease containing and suppressing the Asian nation, and take concrete steps to improve ties, according to Xinhua.

Kerry told Wang that the United States is willing to join hands with China to enhance dialogue, demonstrate leadership and set an example for meeting goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

No doubt a lot of this is bluster, as China has long made it clear that it will look after its own interests and nobody else’s, and that includes climate change. But sadly it looks increasingly likely that Biden/Kerry will go soft on the other issues, in a vain attempt to do a deal on climate.

But more significant is this bit of news from National Review:



Xi Jinping’s emissions-trading scheme shows no indication that it will curb the country’s growing appetite for coal, oil, or natural gas — but it was never meant to.
As planned, China’s new emissions-trading scheme (ETS) is doing nothing to reduce its emissions.
Launched in July,
the ETS encompasses 2,200 companies that operate coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants — facilities responsible for 40 percent of China’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. It builds upon pilot programs in seven delimited regions — including Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing — that began in 2013.
On the opening trading day, July 16, 2021,
allowances to emit one ton of carbon dioxide swapped for between 50 and 53 yuan ($7.72 to $8.18), roughly equal to the cost of permits in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, in which eleven states along the U.S. Atlantic Coast participate. By August 20, prices had dropped to 49 yuan, or $7.57.
At $7.57, the permit trading price is
84 percent lower than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates would be necessary to effectively drive down China’s emissions.
The foremost problem with China’s ETS, however, is not the price at which permits are trading. Instead, the problem is that the plan revolves around “emissions intensity” — a term of art denoting the ratio of emissions to power generation — rather than around absolute volumes of emissions.
China’s scheme allocates tradable permits free of charge to existing power entities as a function of their operations’ emissions intensity and historical power output. The plan places no firm upper bound on the sector’s emissions, nor does it set a timetable for doing so. According to the
International Carbon Action Partnership, an intergovernmental climate-policy monitoring group, the nominal cap will be adjusted ex post facto based on actual power-production levels.
While the ETS does introduce an incentive for companies to generate lower-emissions electricity, climate change is precipitated by absolute volumes, not by ratios. This structure guarantees that the power sector’s cumulative emissions will continue to increase.
“Unlike other ETSs,” writes
Carbon Brief’s Hongqiao Liu, “the Chinese scheme does not currently put a fixed cap on emissions, nor promises a declining cap over time. Therefore, it is not guaranteed to cut carbon.”
Whereas programs such as the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the European Union ETS have firm emissions limits for the sectors they cover and offer fewer permits over time, China’s scheme takes the “cap” out of “cap-and trade.” In so doing, it grants its sanction to the Chinese power sector’s continued emissions increases.
“The current design, this intensity-based target that you allow emissions to increase, that is not very helpful,”
says Yan Qin, economist and lead carbon analyst at Refinitiv.
However much the
scheme may have been hailed, this emperor wears no clothes. Even if we account for an intensity-based system’s low expectations, China’s ETS will encounter another set of hurdles around compliance and enforcement.
China differs from the countries and subnational regions that have implemented emissions trading in that its political system begets corruption. According to Transparency International’s
2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, China ranks below 77 other countries, including places such as Cuba and Belarus.

I have highlighted the key paragraph. In short, The more electricity that fossil fuel generators produce, the more carbon allowances they are given.

+Clearly China’s new scheme is a sham.

  1. Curious George permalink
    September 3, 2021 7:35 pm

    “Kerry, secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, has been in China’s Tianjin since Tuesday. He and Wang held talks by video link.”

    What a great reason to fly there. Well done, Kerry.

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 3, 2021 9:28 pm

      If anyone from the previous administration had “colluded” with China it would have been a call for resignation.

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    September 3, 2021 7:38 pm

    From the Telegraph.
    No further comment necessary other than copper isn’t the only thing the CCP wants, Afghanistan’s lithium reserves are arguably far more important because they are much rarer in a global scale.

    “Taliban declare China their closest ally

    Group’s spokesman says Beijing is ‘ready to invest in and reconstruct’ Afghanistan
    Lucy Fisher,
    Nick Squires
    2 September 2021 • 9:30pm

    China is the Taliban’s “principal partner” in the international community, the Islamist group has said in its strongest signal yet of diplomatic priorities.

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Thursday claimed Beijing was “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan as he set out hopes that China would provide a gateway into global markets.

    His remarks offer the clearest indication to date of the diplomatic direction in which the Taliban is turning, as well as how it intends to solve the economic crisis crippling the country.

    Mr Mujahid said the Chinese would revive Afghan copper mining and production as he expressed admiration for the One Belt One Road project under which China extends significant loans to other countries to invest in infrastructure.”

    • GeoffB permalink
      September 3, 2021 8:07 pm

      Afghanistan humiliated Russia to withdraw in 1989, USA in 2021. Looks like China is going to have a go. Get their own back by inundating the west with opium?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 3, 2021 8:15 pm

      Given Chinese investment in lithium and copper elsewhere, including Chile, Brazil, Peru etc. I suspect they would be content simply to leave the Afghan resource untapped and inaccessible for now. There are going to be massive supply crunches for key minerals coming up. LIthium pries have almost tripled since December.

  3. mwhite permalink
    September 3, 2021 8:08 pm

    Cultural revolution 2.0

    “Did China just Declare WAR?”

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    September 3, 2021 8:18 pm

    “…or we’ll sink climate cooperation” – says the massive country that has planned to build more coal-powered power-stations than the rest of the West together!

  5. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 3, 2021 8:23 pm

    To put the numbers into perspective, EU ETS prices have now breached €60/tonne CO2, while in the UK we are now over £53/tonne CO2.

    That has been on the back of poor renewables performance, leading to the need to run more fossil fuelled generation, with a shortage of gas pending Nordstream 2 leading to increased coal and lignite burn, driving demand for emissions permits still higher – and with them, electricity and gas prices. A lesson here is that renewables are not a reliable solution.

  6. Martin Brumby permalink
    September 3, 2021 8:48 pm

    Xi Jinping has long been aware that neither Biden nor Kerry (nor Boris, Trudeau, Macron, Merkel etc etc) has a spine.

    The CCP will also have far more information on Biden’ corruption than all of Hunter’s three missing laptops could conceivably contain.

    The CCP has got away scott free with deliberately exporting Covid round the World and killing at least a Million people.

    The CCP has no intention of screwing up the Chinese economy to keep our own Beloved Leaders happy in their rush to the cliff edge. And in that respect at least, I don’t blame them.

    They are evil bastards. But at least they aren’t completely gormless.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 3, 2021 8:54 pm

      Spot on!

      • dave permalink
        September 4, 2021 9:37 am

        The Left has always needed its myths (to avoid cognitive dissonance, as much as for any other reason) to explain away the stark realities of countries which have permanent Leftish regimes in place. “Those ten million Kulaks deserved to die! Peasants are not reliable Communist material, after all.”

        Xi is merely giving a nod and a wink to our ‘Melons’ how they should play it
        from now on. They will say the CCP would love to do more to ‘save the planet’ but we wicked Westerners somehow are stopping them. We do not wear scratchy enough hair-shirts, for one thing. And the fools do actually believe China intends to ‘decarbonize’ in the not too distant future.

        Meanwhile, Arctic temperatures are showing a slightly earlier end to summer than in recent years:

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        September 4, 2021 4:28 pm

        It’s even possible we have seen the ice minimum for the year already.

  7. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 3, 2021 9:03 pm

    The judgement for the Chinese government now is what they think they can get away with. They have set out their initial shopping list. It should be clear that the Uighurs are now toast. Probably Hong Kong too, with emigration likely to be banned soon. Do they think they can get away with recapturing Taiwan? Are they right to think that? It’s clear that these issues dominate their minds far more than climate “cooperation” which they merely see as a tool to ensnare the West in its own demise.

  8. Harry Passfield permalink
    September 3, 2021 9:26 pm

    If Boris had the balls he would tell the UN (who made them our ruler?) that UK would do nothing about carbon (weasel word) until China had achieved a measurable by (ha ha!) the UN of a fall in emissions from them. It’s not going to happen! China will continue to watch the West defenestrate itself and be ready to pick up the pieces. Won’t be long now: Biden’s already paved the way.

  9. David Alan Garner permalink
    September 3, 2021 9:38 pm

    The West is being played like a fiddle by emerging nations and the UN.

    In the 30-odd years since IPCC formed it’s been one-way traffic for global legislation undermining the developed world and gifting opportunities to emerging nations.

    I’m not saying EN’s shouldn’t fight for their share but Western ‘leaders’ certainly don’t appear to be doing any fighting for OUR corner at all.

  10. Cheshire Red permalink
    September 3, 2021 9:40 pm

    China are controlling the narrative as they have no fear of the consequences, either climate or economic, of Western ‘reprisals’ for non-cooperation.

    In short, they’ve called our bluff.

  11. Graeme No.3 permalink
    September 3, 2021 10:27 pm

    The ‘hidden trick’ is emissions intensity; if an electricity generator were to replace an old coal-fired plant of 250 MW capacity and emissions of 1,000 kg. per MWh with a newer one of 2,000MW capacity which emits 700 kg. per MWh, then they get rewarded for “reducing intensity”.
    That total emissions have risen 5.6 times is merely incidental.

  12. bluecat57 permalink
    September 4, 2021 12:42 am

    ROFLMAO what “cooperation”?

  13. Richard Greene permalink
    September 4, 2021 4:08 am

    What climate cooperation is there now ?

    Did I miss something?

  14. September 4, 2021 9:11 am

    Having made the climate and Net Zero agenda his key policy priority

    Having outed himself as a numpty, like so many other so-called leaders.

  15. markl permalink
    September 4, 2021 10:46 pm

    What a joke. If what they are doing now is called “cooperation” what could they possibly be referring to?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: