Under the direction of President Joe Biden, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry went to China over the weekend to try and press the world’s largest polluter to act more “green.”
By the time he left China, he had been humiliated.
Kerry was given a “cold shoulder” upon arrival and wasn’t even allowed to see the senior Chinese officials. Instead, he was “reduced to a Zoom meeting” with junior-level officials.
Sponsored: Is This Little Deadly Pill in Your Medicine Cabinet?
Senior Chinese officials were reportedly rolling out the “red carpet” to Taliban representatives around the same time these junior-level officials were meeting with Kerry.
The meeting went poorly.
Kerry was met with renewed demands for Washington to change its stance toward China on a host of other issues from human rights to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims.
The back and forth underscores a deep divide between the world’s two largest emitters that is complicating chances for a breakthrough at a United Nations conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
Kerry told reporters in a conference call at the end of his visit that his mandate is limited to climate, but that he would convey the Chinese concerns to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The chilly treatment of Kerry reflects how much an increasingly assertive China’s approach to Washington has changed in just a few months,” Voice of America News reported.
“The Chinese Communist Party is having a field day with Joe Biden’s weakness and naïveté,” Sen. Ted Cruz reportedly told The Washington Free Beacon. “The President sent John Kerry to Beijing to do what he does best, which is make deals with the Chinese Communist Party to get American technology and sanctions relief. Even then, the Chinese had more time for the Taliban than for Biden or Kerry.”
Sponsored: Deadliest Drug Ever (are you taking it?)
Chinese officials intended to make clear to the Biden administration that “it is impossible to gain China’s cooperation on climate change while maintaining anti-China stances on major issues,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University.
China positioned itself as a leader in promoting renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate accord.
China is a world leader in producing solar panels and wind turbines for renewable energy.
The Biden administration and China have identified the climate crisis as an area for possible cooperation, but this week’s meetings offered little indication of progress.
Kerry told Han that there was “no way” for the world to solve the climate crisis without China’s “full engagement and commitment.”
China is the world’s largest emitter, producing an estimated 27% of global greenhouse gases, followed by the United States. China obtains roughly 60% of its power from coal and is opening more coal-fired power plants, while also committing to reducing its use of fossil fuel.
The Most Powerful Superfood of Them All [sponsored]
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Han as telling Kerry that China had made “huge efforts” in tackling climate change and achieved remarkable results.
China “hopes the American side will create the appropriate circumstances for jointly tackling climate change based on the spirit of the conversations between their leaders,” the Communist Chinese Party’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted Han as saying.
The Associated Press contributed to this article