by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently praised what she described as China’s “progress” on climate change. “China has been very sensitive and has actually invested a lot in their solutions,” Granholm said. “We’re hopeful that we can all learn from what China is doing, but the amount of money they are investing into clean energy is encouraging.” Then, in an odd overenthusiastic sermon, she gestured to the audience, “Don’t you care about climate change?”
Granholm’s cozy statements are just the latest by a sitting Cabinet member or senior Democrat. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), while speaking at a panel for The Atlantic, recentlysaid: “You can’t just go after China with a cudgel. You have to say we have to live on this planet together. How can we work together to save the planet from climate change? They are essential in that discussion. How can we try to work together on issues where we can find common ground?”
Climate envoy John Kerry came under fire in 2021 when he all but dismissed human rights concerns with China. “We have differences on economic rules, on cyber,” Kerry said. “We have other differences on human rights, geostrategic interests, but those differences do not have to get in the way of something that is as critical as dealing with climate.”
This rhetoric underlines why the Biden administration is hesitant to alienate China on matters such as the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is only now, with Republicans in the majority in the House of Representatives, that we are seeing hard questions start to be asked.
It is absurd to think that China can be a reliable partner on climate change, but not on democratic solutions to global human rights problems, while also acting as an economic agitator. Indeed, China’s construction of hundreds of new and highly polluting new coal plants in recent years underlines its duplicity.