China, the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, doesn’t think the United States is doing enough to fight climate change.
With the annual U.N. climate conference starting Monday, a top Beijing official slammed the U.S. and other developed countries, accusing them of lacking the “political will” to fight climate change as demonstrated by their failure to provide adequate funding to developing nations — like China.
“The biggest problem in the current multilateral process to address climate change lies in the insufficient political will of developed countries to provide support to the process,” said Zhao Yingmin, vice president of environment and ecology, at last week’s press conference.
The United States has led the world in reducing net carbon emissions, dropping 13% from 2005 to 2017, while Chinese emissions have increased steadily even as the world’s second-largest economy touted a 45% decline in carbon intensity and “highest possible ambition” in updating its climate goals.
The issue of climate compensation is expected to emerge as a hot topic at the 2019 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP25, which runs through Dec. 13 in Madrid.
“We hope that developed countries will provide sufficient, continuous and timely support to developing countries in a transparent and predictable manner, use public-funds and honor their commitment to provide developing countries with an annual climate fund of $100 billion up to the year 2020,” said Mr. Yingmin in a translation posted on China’s government information page.
He referred to the non-binding pledge that accompanied the 2015 Paris Agreement for industrialized nations to sink $100 billion annually by 2020 into the Green Climate Fund to assist developing nations in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
That effort has fallen far short. The Obama administration kicked $1 billion, but President Trump ruled out any further U.S. funding as part of his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, calling it “a total disaster.”
The White House is sending a diplomatic corps — but no senior administration officials — to the Madrid conference in order to “ensure a level playing field that protects U.S. interests,” said the State Department in a statement.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Saturday she would lead a bicameral — but not bipartisan — delegation of 15 Democratic lawmakers to Madrid to elevate “the climate crisis to the forefront of the international conversation.”
In a report, Beijing’s environmental ministry criticized the Trump administration’s decision to exit the accord as well as the European Union’s proposed “carbon border tax” on emissions-intensive imported goods.
Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, who plans to attend the Madrid summit, accused China of leveraging the global-warming issue to hobble its international competition while boosting its own image.
“China is at it again, posing as a ‘climate’ concerned country while building seemingly endless new coal mines,” Mr. Morano said. “China’s false image as some kind of climate champion is aided and abetted by the media and climate activists. China is enjoying condemning the U.S. while also demanding a piece of the U.N. climate slush fund to developing nations.”
The Chinese government increased fivefold its approvals for coal-mine construction this year, according to a Reuters analysis, even as it seeks to reduce its coal consumption and increase its green-energy mix to 20% by 2030.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that “what is still lacking is political will” to combat rising temperatures.
“Political will to put a price on carbon,” Mr. Guterres said. “Political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels. Political will to stop building coal power plants from 2020 onwards. Political will to shift taxation from income to carbon.”
• This article was based in part on wire service reports.