America Already Failed in Glasgow
By Marco Rubio
America is back at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where the leader of the free world will beg the authoritarian thugs leading China and Russia to reduce their carbon emissions. It appears no one in President Joe Biden’s inner circle stopped to ask a simple question: why would Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin reduce their reliance on cheap, reliable fossil fuels?
Both leaders are far more concerned about their domestic economic and political concerns than an international agreement that will do absolutely nothing to stop rising seas from encroaching on Florida. And both countries have horrific records when it comes to the environment.
Despite making climate-related pledges in the past, the Chinese Communist Party is building coal-fired power plants at a stunning rate. In fact, in 2020, it brought online three times more coal-fired capacity than the rest of the world combined. It also approved construction projects aimed at tripling its current coal-fired capacity in the decades to come. That trend continued this year, with 24 new coal-fired power plants approved. Since 2000, China has made around $50 billion in investments in coal projects worldwide, including Pakistan. Does that sound like a regime willing to reduce its carbon footprint?
China is not the only nation on a coal binge. Russia is spending $10 billion to upgrade its railroads in an effort to export more coal. The country’s vast deposits of fossil fuels make a transition to non-fossil energy highly unlikely. By one estimate, only 1.2 percent of Russia’s power generation will come from renewable technology by 2030. By comparison, the United States is already at 20 percent, with another 20 percent coming from carbon-neutral nuclear power.
In some ways, the Biden Administration is actually helping Russia’s fossil fuel export strategy. In May, President Biden had a chance to block Russia’s new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will make it easier for Russia to export natural gas to Germany and the rest of Europe. Instead, Biden let the pipeline, which was the subject of Youth Climate Strike protests in Germany earlier this year, move forward.
None of this even addresses China and Russia’s egregious human rights violations or destructive environmental practices, including China’s systematic use of forced labor in renewable industries, especially those that devastate impoverished communities around the world.
The truth is that this is all about messaging. As former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger observed, “Over and over, year after year, they make these pledges and they come out to declare victory, but then nothing is getting done.”
President Biden wants to claim he struck a deal. America’s legacy media will herald Biden as a savvy foreign policy hand and veteran dealmaker. They’ll say he did what Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama couldn’t do, and what President Donald Trump wouldn’t do. And they’ll assign him a place of high honor in American history.
Xi and Putin would gladly agree to an agreement as well, but for entirely different reasons. First, it would confer some element of international legitimacy on their despotic regimes. Second, they know America would try to abide by the terms, which would hurt America’s economy and limit our ability to partner economically with nations across the globe. Third, they have no intention of abiding by any agreement themselves.
In fact, the only thing certain when it comes to negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party is that commitments will be broken. The list of examples is long. Beijing continues its economic espionage and theft despite signing, since 1980, more than 10 international conventions and bilateral agreements with the United States that obligate it to cease such illicit activity. It is committing genocide, blocking an international investigation into the true origins of COVID-19, and crushing freedom in Hong Kong.
And to top it all off, China and Russia are likely to demand that the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and others pay them to go green. That’s right, Xi and Putin will likely demand democratic nations send tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars to “developing nations” like them.
If President Biden was interested in putting America’s interest first, he would defend the strides our nation made — without sweeping mandates and draconian taxes — in reducing carbon emissions. He would also tout our desire to pursue real, adaptive solutions like we are doing right now in Florida. In 2017, through proactive adaptation alone, the Environmental Protection Agency predicted Americans could reduce damage caused by climate change to coastal properties through 2099 by 90 percent.
America already lost the COP-26 negotiations because President Biden is negotiating from a position of weakness, and Xi and Putin know it. Either they con America’s president into a ridiculous, unenforceable deal that hurts Americans, or they claim America is too stubborn and selfish to protect the planet. This is exactly what happens when America’s leaders care more about the opinions of the global elites than the welfare of their fellow Americans.
It is an absolute embarrassment that an American president is flying to Glasgow, Scotland to beg brutal thugs for anything. It is the type of ideological naivety that Biden and his staff of alleged foreign policy experts were supposed to avoid. Yet here we are.