With Trump ascendant, beloved famous people falling like flies, and kids preparing to sue the federal government over its environmental failings, 2016 is continuing to be utterly, grimly surreal. The latest episode of this cacophony of insanity comes from China, who for the first time has officially explained that, no matter what Trump thinks, climate change is not a Chinese hoax.
Speaking at the UN climate change meeting in Morocco this week, China’s vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin confirmed that this particular conspiracy theory is as absurd as everyone else already knew it was. He then proceeded to give Trump a history lesson.
“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the [International Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Liu noted, according to Bloomberg.
Liu is absolutely correct on this point. Back during the Reagan era, there were plenty of Republicans that recognized that climate change was a clear and present threat to the nation’s interests, and the world at large. Since then, massive amounts of funding and powerful campaigns of misinformation have made climate change-fighting Republican lawmakers an incredibly rare breed.
“We hope that the US will continue to play a leadership role in the climate change process as people are worried about a repeat of the experience of the Kyoto protocol,” Liu added. “We shall have to wait and see what position they will take … [But we] expect that they will take a right and smart decision to live up to the world’s expectations.”
If America does withdraw from the Paris agreement – which would take around four years to do so – then China, as one of the key founders of the pact and the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, will become the de facto world leader in climate change mitigation.
Although they are still building coal-fired power plants as the rest of the world shuts theirs down, they have also significantly ramped up the pace at which they are installing renewable energy infrastructure. Beijing, like much of the planet, is also becoming increasingly aware that low-carbon energy sources are not just a good way to save the planet, but that they’re also a sound economic investment too.
Trump’s comments about climate change being a Chinese hoax are arguably some of his most infamous and ludicrous. Sadly, despite the fact that he’s taken every possible position on everything ever, there are two things he seems consistent on – placing an anti-abortion judge on the Supreme Court, and actively destroying the environment.
John Kerry, the current US Secretary of State, was one of the key negotiators for the Paris agreement. He clearly has a very personal attachment to it, as he brought his granddaughter to the signing ceremony at the UN last year. Now all that work is threatened by Trump.
Speaking in Morocco this week, Kerry said that market forces and the support of the majority of Americans have made a low-carbon future a certainty. Fighting against this tide would amount to nothing less than a profound act of self-destruction.
"We literally can't use one hand to pat ourselves on the back for what we have done to take steps to address climate change, and then turn around and use the other hand to write a big fat check enabling the widespread development of the dirtiest source of fuel in an outdated way, it just doesn't make sense,” he said, as reported by BBC News.
“That's suicide, and that's how we all lose this fight.”
Kerry signs the Paris agreement as his granddaughter looks on. a katz/Shutterstock