This week, international climate czar John Kerry has joined the parade of Biden administration officials that have visited China and met with President Xi, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. The purpose of the trip was to meet with Chinese officials and discuss “addressing the climate crisis, including with respect to increasing implementation and ambition and promoting a successful COP28.” According to a readout of the meeting, Special Envoy Kerry relished China with praise regarding their track record on renewables. Is China’s “incredible job” on renewables good for the climate? 

“China has been doing an incredible job of building out renewables,” Mr. Kerry said. “But on the other hand, we see new coal coming online, which undoes the benefit of that.”
John Kerry

False. Completely make believe.

China’s record on renewables is neither good for the climate nor humanity. While they have greatly expanded the presence of renewables in their country, that is a superficial way to measure the country’s actual impact.

Renewable energy requires a significant amount of critical minerals like cobalt, nickel, and copper among others to work. The growth of Chinese renewables has coincided with degraded environments and violations of basic humanitarian standards at the Chinese-owned mines that produce these critical minerals. Some reports have found that these same mines rely on child or forced labor.

Even with its “incredible” expansion of wind and solar, China continues to lead the world in increased emissions and will do little to change this prior to 2030. Their Paris-affiliated climate commitments make clear that they only “intend to peak emissions by 2030.” Notably missing is any promise to actually reduce them. 

This is in part due to the coal-fired power plants that China keeps building because they understand that wind and solar only work if they are backed up by reliable sources, like coal. But even more problematic, China’s coal plants fail to use basic pollution control technology U.S. coal plants have been using for decades. 

If Special Envoy John Kerry was serious about the climate, he’d work to boost U.S. energy development and sell more natural gas to our allies rather than kowtow to our adversaries. Unfortunately, his leftist Green New Deal policies do the exact opposite. 

It’s no secret that China is a serious beneficiary of domestic policies aimed at making U.S. energy scarce and expensive. The CCP gets to inherit the jobs and productivity sent overseas by Team Biden’s war on American energy while also receiving plaudits from top U.S. officials like John Kerry. This is not only damaging to the economy and the environment, it’s embarrassing.