Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron of France is visiting Xi Jinping on Wednesday, at a formal meeting in Bejing. A key topic is expected to be climate change.
China is the world’s largest producer of industrial carbon dioxide, producing double what the second largest, the United States, creates and more than four times what the third largest, India, produces. Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas, a gas which traps heat within the atmosphere rather than allowing the energies to be radiated into space.
China is promising, not to stop producing the most carbon dioxide but rather to reverse its trend of continuing to produce more. They have stated they will shift to decreasing their carbon emissions by 2030.
France, for its part, rolled back its attempt at sweeping carbon taxes when the Yellow Vest movement threatened to overwhelm the government last year in response to them.
Despite these facts, France and China – the feckless activist country and the most aggressive polluter – are seen as leaders on the topic of climate change, and the United States, which has pioneered wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear power, is a villain.
The industrial output of the United States, even for all that we are said to have shifted to a service-based economy, remains #2 in the world, with the U.S. producing roughly 7/9 the output of China… and the United States does it with only half as much CO2 generation. There is no reason for the country to be seen as destructive, save for cheap political rhetoric and asinine political decisions.
The cheap political rhetoric has come primarily from the Democrats, who have declared the issue as settled science and demanded the United States do more rather than praise the successful efforts to date at reducing pollution of all types. The asinine political decisions have come from Trump and the Republicans.
Catastrophic climate change and its corollary of global warming are matters of firm belief throughout much of the world. There are valid arguments against certainty, however. Even brushing aside allegations of falsified data and the notion of a global conspiracy to keep grant money flowing, there are true concerns: the failure of prior models to accurately predict current circumstances, announcing new record temperatures based on margins of error in data collection, land temperature stations shifting from rural to urbanized settings and ocean temperature monitoring being found to have incorrectly taken data points for decades, and the presence of weather anomalies throughout history independent of carbon dioxide spikes, among others.
It is not settled science. It is a possibility, and one that deserves consideration for potentially becoming settled science, but that is all. Even if it were settled science, the United States would still be making great strides for clean energy, and those strides are due primarily to free market innovation rather than government grants and projects.
Republicans are not making those cases. Instead, they are stating simply “America first!” and expecting the rest of the world to go along. The rest of the world is hearing that the United States is consuming more than its share of resources and accepting no responsibility for those actions.
The Republicans, under Trump, have run away from the arena of ideas.
In the absence of leadership, other countries – in this case, China – are stepping in. In the absence of rational explanation, the view of America is shifting steadily more negative throughout the rest of the world.