In an interview with Chinese state media on Monday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates saluted China – the worst polluter and emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet – and its autocratic ruler Xi Jinping for “making climate a priority.”
China’s state news service Xinhua gave Gates a pat on the head for absorbing and repeating Beijing’s promise to achieve “carbon neutrality” in forty years or so. In reality, China is currently building three times more coal power capacity than the entire rest of the planet combined, while people in Texas are suffering from the catastrophic failure of the wind and solar power Gates was enamored of.
“It’s great that President Xi is making climate a priority and wants to work with other countries on this. Without the contributions of China, many of the key ingredients (in fighting climate change) like the batteries and solar power wouldn’t be so affordable,” Gates told Xinhua.
“I hope that innovators in China can bring down the cost of green energy enough, so that China can even increase its commitment to use renewable energy in the Belt and Road Initiative,” Gates added.
Belt and Road (BRI) is China’s international infrastructure program, often criticized as thinly-disguised imperialism or “debt-trap colonialism” because it has a tendency to lure Third World governments into borrowing money from Chinese banks they can never repay. Contrary to Gates’ wishful thinking, BRI is investing a great deal of money in dirty power plants to increase electrical capacity in Third World nations.
Gates called on China and the United States to cooperate on research and development for green energy, ostensibly reducing the “green premium” for the rest of the world by shouldering the burden of making the technology cost-efficient.
According to Xinhua, Gates said, “climate change and innovation are areas that China and the United States could achieve big win-win results.” Win-win cooperation is one of the Chinese Communist Party’s favorite slogans, a phrase parroted endlessly by Xi Jinping and his officials, especially when they are attempting to deflect criticism from human rights advocates.
Gates is hardly the only self-professed environmental activist to give China a free pass for its greenhouse gases, rampant pollution, and absolute refusal to compromise its industrial goals the way Western nations are expected to do.
China is pumping out more greenhouse gas than America and Europe combined, and even if it started tomorrow, it would be nearly impossible for it to meet the lofty goals that entrance foreign activists. For a variety of reasons, many of these activists judge Beijing solely on its extravagant promises – peak CO2 emissions by 2030! Carbon neutral by 2060! – and never on what it is actually doing.
Unlike Western nations, China does not have to worry about any homegrown activists blowing the whistle on its environmental crimes. Despite Gates’ wistful talk about how America and China both have “amazing smart people in the younger generation who would be proud” to work on climate issues, China has exactly one famous teenage climate activist, and she was harassed by the authorities, terrorized by the police, blocked from the Internet, and kicked out of school for her troubles.
Author: John Hayward