Kerry: 'No Way the U.S. and the Rest of the World Can Get to Our (Climate) Goal If China Doesn't Join In'

By Susan Jones | May 13, 2021 | 9:05am EDT
A coal-fired plant, one of many in China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
A coal-fired plant, one of many in China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "China produces more emissions than all the rest of the OECD (developed) countries put together," President Biden's Senior Climate Adviser John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

"They are currently funding coal, external coal-fired power. And we've been working on, this is one of the things we really engaged on. And we've had some very heated discussions about this. Because obviously, it's not sustainable.

“There's no way the United States and the rest of the world can get to our goal if China doesn't join in and become part of -- it's not just China. There are other countries...We need to see greater reductions in India," Kerry said.

'They believe this is a climate crisis now'

Kerry said the entire planet faces an "existential" threat from climate change.

"We have to deal with it. And because China is nearly 30 percent of all the emissions on the planet, China's got to be part of the solution, not a bigger part of the problem," he said:

So we've had very direct conversations with the Chinese on this. They have moved somewhat in the course of the last month-and-a-half, two months after we've engaged.

For instance, they had a peak date, of peaking in terms of their emissions, by 2030. That's where we began. And they were not willing to change it. And in addition, they were not even discussing mitigation during the course of the next ten years.

Well, We've been having some very serious conversations about the reality of science, the 1.5 degrees, the need to hold it. And so China has now announced, President Xi announced -- he announced a number of things.

Number one, they believe that this is a climate crisis now. Our joint statement was entitled U.S./China Joint Statement on Climate Crisis. They've never done that. They now have, in the body of the text, they've agreed they have to do change and do something in the 2020-2030 (time frame). They've agreed that the peaking now, they think may be able to take place by 2025, (20)24. We don't know yet. So we're in an ongoing negotiation with them.

And where we are in the aftermath of the summit that we had, where President Xi made some of these announcements, is that we've got to go back to work. We have five more months left to get them to embrace something that we believe you will view, hopefully, as a legitimate, you know, a legitimate initiative that makes sense.

We're not there yet. And So I think both on thee -- and I've made it clear, there are serious issues, we all know, with China. Issues from Hong Kong to Taiwan to the South China Sea to access to the marketplace, cyber, and cyber theft. These are big challenges.

But historically, we've always proven ourselves capable of negotiating, even when we have big disagreements.

(Kerry pointed to President Ronald Reagan negotiating with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev on nuclear warheads.)

"Let me just say in closing, I think your success will be tied to China," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told Kerry. And I think the more you can hold the CCP to the same standards as the United States, I think the more successful you'll be, but we're not seeing that right now."

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) reminded Kerry that China cannot be trusted to match its deeds to its words:

As we focused on, we're dealing with China. And China has grudgingly made a few comments, as you just pointed out. They've been willing to use the word "crisis." But the fact is, even if China uses the word crisis, even if they make a commitment, they many not actually do anything on the ground.

What they do on the ground is more important than what they say. And every week, they build a new, large coal-fired power plant. Week after week. And when you build this plant, it's not with the intention that they're going to decommission it five or ten years after they put it online. As others have pointed out, they're also financing coal-fired power plants around the world.

You are a very good diplomat -- you're very persuasive. But all you have in your toolbox is a chance to appeal to the conscience of a regime that Ranking Member McCaul has described as genocidal. A regime that puts its own people by the millions in concentration camps, and we have given you the job of appealing to their better nature -- appealing to their conscience, in getting them to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in order to help their fellow human beings.

Sherman asked Kerry if he would be in a stronger position if Congress authorized an additional ten percent tariff on all goods coming into the United States from China and got our allies to go along.

Kerry responded that President Biden has asked for an evaluation of placing an additional cost on countries "that are not responsible with what they're doing."

"No decision has been made about deploying that or doing it, but I think Congress looking at this would be a very, you know, important analysis. And important undertaking to sort of look at the dynamics of this."

Kerry agreed that "In the endeavor with China, you have to be eyes wide open. You can't go in and just take words."

Also see:

Energy Expert: 'One of the Most Resilient Types of Power Is a Coal-Fired Power Plant'

Kerry: 'No Way the U.S. and the Rest of the World Can Get to Our (Climate) Goal If China Doesn't Join In'

(CNSNews.com) - "China produces more emissions than all the rest of the OECD (developed) countries put together," President Biden's Senior Climate Adviser John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

"They are currently funding coal, external coal-fired power. And we've been working on, this is one of the things we really engaged on. And we've had some very heated discussions about this. Because obviously, it's not sustainable.

“There's no way the United States and the rest of the world can get to our goal if China doesn't join in and become part of -- it's not just China. There are other countries...We need to see greater reductions in India," Kerry said.

'They believe this is a climate crisis now'

Kerry said the entire planet faces an "existential" threat from climate change.

"We have to deal with it. And because China is nearly 30 percent of all the emissions on the planet, China's got to be part of the solution, not a bigger part of the problem," he said:

So we've had very direct conversations with the Chinese on this. They have moved somewhat in the course of the last month-and-a-half, two months after we've engaged.

For instance, they had a peak date, of peaking in terms of their emissions, by 2030. That's where we began. And they were not willing to change it. And in addition, they were not even discussing mitigation during the course of the next ten years.

Well, We've been having some very serious conversations about the reality of science, the 1.5 degrees, the need to hold it. And so China has now announced, President Xi announced -- he announced a number of things.

Number one, they believe that this is a climate crisis now. Our joint statement was entitled U.S./China Joint Statement on Climate Crisis. They've never done that. They now have, in the body of the text, they've agreed they have to do change and do something in the 2020-2030 (time frame). They've agreed that the peaking now, they think may be able to take place by 2025, (20)24. We don't know yet. So we're in an ongoing negotiation with them.

And where we are in the aftermath of the summit that we had, where President Xi made some of these announcements, is that we've got to go back to work. We have five more months left to get them to embrace something that we believe you will view, hopefully, as a legitimate, you know, a legitimate initiative that makes sense.

We're not there yet. And So I think both on thee -- and I've made it clear, there are serious issues, we all know, with China. Issues from Hong Kong to Taiwan to the South China Sea to access to the marketplace, cyber, and cyber theft. These are big challenges.

But historically, we've always proven ourselves capable of negotiating, even when we have big disagreements.

(Kerry pointed to President Ronald Reagan negotiating with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev on nuclear warheads.)

"Let me just say in closing, I think your success will be tied to China," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told Kerry. And I think the more you can hold the CCP to the same standards as the United States, I think the more successful you'll be, but we're not seeing that right now."

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) reminded Kerry that China cannot be trusted to match its deeds to its words:

As we focused on, we're dealing with China. And China has grudgingly made a few comments, as you just pointed out. They've been willing to use the word "crisis." But the fact is, even if China uses the word crisis, even if they make a commitment, they many not actually do anything on the ground.

What they do on the ground is more important than what they say. And every week, they build a new, large coal-fired power plant. Week after week. And when you build this plant, it's not with the intention that they're going to decommission it five or ten years after they put it online. As others have pointed out, they're also financing coal-fired power plants around the world.

You are a very good diplomat a-- you're very persuasive. But all you have in your toolbox is a chance to appeal to the conscience of a regime that Ranking Member McCaul has described as genocidal. A regime that puts its own people by the millions in concentration camps, and we have given you the job of appealing to their better nature -- appealing to their conscience, in getting them to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in order to help their fellow human beings.

Sherman asked Kerry if he would be in a stronger position if Congress authorized an additional ten percent tariff on all goods coming into the United States from China and got our allies to go along.

Kerry responded that President Biden has asked for an evaluation of placing an additional cost on countries "that are not responsible with what they're doing."

"No decision has been made about deploying that or doing it, but I think Congress looking at this would be a very, you know, important analysis. And important undertaking to sort of look at the dynamics of this."

Kerry agreed that "In the endeavor with China, you have to be eyes wide open. You can't go in and just take words."


Also see:
Energy Expert: 'One of the Most Resilient Types of Power Is a Coal-Fired Power Plant'

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