President Joe Biden calls Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer,” while Chinese President Xi Jinping and his regime “blatantly violate human rights” and both think “autocracy is the wave of the future.” Yet he invited both to his trumpeted two-day virtual Earth Day summit and acted as if their promises and pledges have any real meaning.
“It’s an encouraging start,” Biden told the 40 world leaders attending his dog and pony show Thursday. “We’re really beginning to make some real progress.”
What a joke.
Biden announced before the summit started that he was doubling his old boss President Barack Obama’s greenhouse-gas-emission reduction goals under the Paris climate agreement, vowing to cut them by 52 percent by 2035 and putting the country on track to release net-zero emissions by 2050. It’s a “moral imperative,” he intoned.
His climate czar, John Kerry, was a lot more frank in January, when Biden said he’d rejoin the 2015 Paris agreement. “Almost 90 percent of all of the planet’s global emissions come from outside of US borders,” he noted. “We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved.”
In the (non-binding) Paris accord, Xi vowed only that China, the world’s worst emitter of carbon dioxide, would reach its greenhouse-gas-emissions peak by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by safely-far-off 2060. Last year, China not only generated more than half the world’s coal-fired power (the dirtiest fossil fuel), it also opened three times more coal plants in 2020 than the rest of the world combined. It’s the only G20 country whose emissions rose last year.
Yet Xi told Biden’s summit, with a straight face and without challenge, “To protect the environment is to protect productivity, and to boost the environment is to boost productivity. It’s as simple as that.” Except, again, he’s not even trying “to boost the environment” for another decade.
His vice foreign minister, Le Yucheng, was more honest after the recent meeting with Kerry. “For a big country with 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easily delivered,” he told the Associated Press.
Biden’s pointless summit gave another autocrat a chance to feign virtue. “The fate of our entire planet, the development prospects of each country, the well-being and quality of life of people largely depend on the success of these efforts,” solemnly declared Putin, whose sharpest domestic critic, Alexei Navalny, lies near death in prison.
Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline his first day in office proved he’s more interested in posturing on about “environmental justice” than in letting the American economy flourish. He’d see even more Americans jobs disappear to make not a dent in climate change while the world’s worst autocrats continue to pollute — and get away with murder.
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