China’s President Xi Jinping in effect “stonewalled” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a telephone call in which the latter was hoping to get the former to commit to a faster and bigger cut of Chinese carbon emissions before Sunday’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
China is sticking with coal
Johnson admitted Xi stonewalled him as he told reporters about his conversation with the leader of China, the largest carbon emissions polluter in the world.
Xi has made it clear he is not attending in person the COP26 summit, and will instead address it through a video link.
Participants don’t have great expectations of making significant progress towards the reduction of global carbon emissions after China’s refused to pledge more tangible cuts.
Thus, ahead of the summit, Beijing reiterated its already stated intention to try to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, with its carbon emissions peaking in 2030.
On his way to the G-20 summit in Rome, Johnson told reporters of his conversation with Xi in which he tried to push the Chinese leader to commit to 2025 for peak emissions instead of 2030.
Clearly, that was to no avail but the British leader said further he also urged Xi to do away with China’s usage of coal.
According to Johnson, Xi responded that China’s domestic economy is dependent on coal.
Johnson tried to tout Britain’s experience which used to be 80% dependent on coal for electricity production but that has now been reduced to 1%.
The British Prime Minister recalled that when he visited China in 2008, the figure still stood at 40%, meaning that this shows “how fast you can make the transition” from coal to cleaner electricity generation sources.
Just cooperate on ‘shared interests’
A summary of the Johnson – Xi telephone conversation put out by the former’s office has demonstrated the British leader’s recognition of China’s commitment to battle climate change.
Both leaders also allegedly recognized that they have certain areas of “disagreement and difficulty” between the two countries.
Johnson allegedly “raised” Britain’s concern over the destruction of democracy in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to China in 1997, and over the terrorizing of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, in Northwest China.
Of course, Communist leader Xi couldn’t care less about the British rhetoric as he has managed to completely crush democracy and freedom in Hong Kong, and has sent millions of ethnic Uighurs to concentration camps.
Faced with the further stonewalling on Xi’s part, Johnson and China’s leader “agreed” to just “cooperate on areas of shared interest.”