In a speech to the UN General Assembly, China tried to polish up its tarnished image. Speaking remotely through a video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping showed it off that as a nation they were committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2060.
Jinping also focused on the impacts of Covid-19 and the importance of a sustainable economic recovery, setting goals to peak China’s CO2 emissions before 2030. China has not been sending out the right signals anywhere in the world.
Its movement at the South China Sea is showing its mad need for power control over smaller nations. Its domination over the India chapter at skirmishes at the Line of Actual Control isn’t palatable either; and then the whole controversy around the pandemic and the way it sailed through it while many nations are still trying to get a grip over the increasing number of cases.
According to the United Nations climate reports, it is necessary that at least there should be 45 percent reduction globally by 2030 on the carbon emission rates, for any possibility of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
But China has not shown any clear evidence in terms of showing a sense of responsibility and commitment towards reducing carbon emission rates. In fact, its meteoric economic rise has shown otherwise- and continues to be, fueled by extraordinary resource extraction and exploitation. There have been guidelines by the UN climate reports on limiting the activity of fossil fuel extractions and culling of green cover to maintain the oxygen levels and limiting CO2 levels.
China now uses more concrete than the United States did in the entire century. The former now also emits nearly twice the amount of CO2 as the United States each year, though it emits far less per capita. As a nation, it has always walked its own tune, giving a nod to environmental initiatives only when its economy has shown signs of health.
All this time, it has been funding coal plants through its Belt and Road Initiative. Its soft stance at the UN Council meeting is only to show that it cares about nature, when it fact it isn’t serious to show anything in action. The two major emitting countries are the United States and China. Both are facing consequences of human displacement and climate led catastrophes in their inner circles.
Undeniably, China is responsible for nearly a third of the world’s CO2 emissions. So, with even a little reduction on its part, the rest of the world will be substantially better off. China does not have a good reputation- it cannot project one either. First has been its dubious handling of the pandemic and then its stance of trying to show off a ‘wolf warrior strategy’ to get back at nations on the social media. Both do not suit it as a powerful nation. Putting down its guard and actually trying to play on level ground for the sake of humanity for once, might make the UN members take it seriously.