Biden fails to achieve unity on climate as China, Russia avoid COP26 summit
A disappointed President Biden condemned China and Russia — the world's biggest and fourth-biggest carbon emitters — for not showing up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, referred to as COP26, in Glasgow this week.
"I indicated that China and Russia not showing up — and Saudi Arabia — is a problem," Biden said.
Critics have argued that international efforts to combat climate change, like COP26, are insufficient or unserious because they often fail to hold some of the top emitters accountable. As of 2019, China was responsible for 27.92% of global emissions, according to Statistica. The United States accounted for 14.5%, while India accounted for 7.17%, Russia for 4.6%, and Saudi Arabia for 1.59%.
"We showed up, and by showing up, we've had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role," Biden said of COP26.
(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
"I think it's been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China, with respect to China, not showing up," the president added. "The rest of the world will look to China and say, ‘What value-added are they providing?’ And they've lost an ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at COP. The same way, I would argue, with regard to Russia."
On climate change, critics have accused China of breaking its promises. While Xi signed the Paris climate agreement and has pledged to make the Middle Kingdom carbon-neutral by 2060, China has built more new coal plants domestically and internationally.
Biden went on to say that he is "not" "worried about an armed conflict" with China. He said he has told Chinese President Xi Jinping, "This is competition; it does not have to be conflict." He also said he told Xi, "We expect them to play by the rules of the road."
Steve Milloy, a former Trump-Pence EPA transition member and founder of JunkScience.com, mocked Biden's warning to Xi.
"Biden’s slam of Chinese President Xi and Russian President Putin for not showing up at COP26 is a sad indication of Biden’s failure to grasp or accept real-world realities," Milloy told Fox News. "China wants to be the lone global superpower by 2049. Russia wants to get Europe hooked on its natural gas. So neither country has any interest in hamstringing its own economy with destructive climate regulations."
"Rather, Xi and Putin seem have taken to heart the Napoleonic principle of never interfering with your opponent while he is in the process of destroying himself, which is exactly what the U.S. and Europe are doing with their suicidal embrace of climate idiocy," Milloy added.
(Associated Press/Evan Vucci)