The US government on Friday amplified attacks against China on the environmental front with a comprehensive statement about its alleged abuses.
Billed as a “fact sheet” on China’s greenhouse gas emissions, wildlife trafficking, illegal fishing and a host of other alleged violations, the US State Department’s latest broadside against Beijing follows a pledge by Xi Jinping to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week to drastically reduce its carbon footprint.
“While the Chinese people have suffered the worst environmental impacts of its actions, Beijing also threatens the global economy and global health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its wilful disregard for the environment through its One Belt One Road initiative,” the document said.
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“Tragically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) represses civil society and a free press, slowing changes that would benefit its citizens and people all over the world,” it said.
US President Donald Trump, one of the leading critics among world leaders of efforts to curtail greenhouse gases, spent much of his UNGA address this week slamming Beijing’s environmental record, accusing China of dumping “millions and millions of tons” of trash into the oceans, overfishing and polluting the world’s air.
Over two-thirds of Americans say they think the US government is not doing enough in three different environmental objectives: reducing the effects of global climate change, protecting air quality and protecting the quality of lakes, rivers and streams, according to the results of a survey published by the non-partisan Pew Research Center in April.
Xi announced in his UNGA address that China would reach net zero carbon emissions by 2060, with little in the way of detail about how his government would achieve this.
China accounts for nearly 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the most critical factors in efforts to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, targets that were agreed to under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
Trump announced months into his tenure as president that he would withdraw the US government’s ratification of that accord, saying that the agreement “is less about the climate and more about other nations gaining a financial advantage over the United States”.
The State Department’s 1,800-word statement, which says that China has been the world’s largest annual greenhouse gas emitter since 2006 does not mention climate change.
More from South China Morning Post:
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- Climate change: Xi Jinping makes bold pledge for China to be carbon neutral by 2060
- EU backs China carbon neutral pledge but ‘more climate work to be done’
- China’s cabinet approves two new nuclear power plants in push to boost economy, cut pollution
This article US attacks China’s environmental record as Xi Jinping vows to reduce carbon footprint first appeared on South China Morning Post