World Advocates fear US weighing climate vs. human rights on China
Not easy voting green: Germans wary of getting climate bill
HALLE, Germany (AP) — It's a scorching September day and the Green party candidate hoping to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor leaps on stage in front of hundreds of supporters for what should be a home run. Surveys show climate change is among the top concerns for many voters, and the audience in the eastern city of Halle is made up largely of students and retirees eager to hear how Annalena Baerbock plans to safeguard their future — or that of their grandchildren. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Friday, July 16, 2021 file photo the 'Lebenshilfe-Haus' (Life Assistant Building) home for the disabled is pictured in Sinzig, Germany.
is meeting resistance from China, the world's biggest climate polluter, which is adamant that the United States ease confrontation over other matters if it wants
Rights advocates and Republican lawmakers say they see signs, including softer language and talk of heated internal debate among Biden administration officials, that China’s pressure is leading the United States to back off on criticism of, and of its predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region.
Climate change: Australia is shaping up to be the villain of COP26 talks in Glasgow
If Australia's allies were worried that the country might cause them problems at upcoming climate talks in Glasgow, the past week of events should leave little doubt in their minds. It will. © Lukas Coch/AP Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, on Sept. 9, 2021. The government confirmed it refused to allow climate change goals to be written into a proposed free trade deal with Britain, as pressure mounts on Australia to make more ambitious commitments to cut carbon emissions.
But the White House took a step this past week that could further deepen the U.S.-China divide,that will mean a greater sharing of defense capabilities, including helping equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
Biden, world leaders try to hammer out next steps on climate
Washington (AP) — President Joe Biden tried to hammer out the world's next steps against rapidly worsening climate change in a private, virtual session with a small group of other global leaders Friday, and announced a new U.S.-European pledge to cut climate-wrecking methane leaks. Ever-grimmer findings from scientists this year that the world is nearing the point where the level of climate damage from burning oil, gas and coal becomes catastrophic and irreversible “represent a code red for humanity,” Biden said at the session's outset.
President Joe Biden came out strong from the start of his presidency with sanctions over China's abuse of the Uyghurs, and. But the U.S. desire for fast climate progress versus China's desire that the U.S. back off on issues such as human rights and religious freedom is creating conflict between two top Biden goals: steering the world away from the climate abyss and tempering China’s rising influence.
It would be “disastrous in the long term for the United States government to backtrack, tone down, let the Chinese manipulate the issue," said Nury Turkel, a Uyghur advocate and the vice chairman of the, an advisory panel that makes policy recommendations to the White House and Congress.
UN to world leaders: To curtail warming, you must do more
Pressure keeps building on increasingly anxious world leaders to ratchet up efforts to fight climate change. There's more of it coming this week in one of the highest-profile forums of all — the United Nations. For the second time in four days, this time out of U.N. headquarters in New York, leaders will hear pleas to make deeper cuts of emissions of heat-trapping gases and give poorer countries more money to develop cleaner energy and adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change.“I'm not desperate, but I'm tremendously worried,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press in a weekend interview.
Chinese leaders repeatedly linkedon human rights and other issues during Kerry's most recent China trip this month, Kerry told reporters in a call.
The Chinese complained specifically about sanctions the administration has put onwhich the U.S. and rights groups say runs partly on the forced labor of imprisoned Uyghurs.
"My response to them was, 'Hey, look, climate is not ideological, it’s not partisan, it’s not a geostrategic weapon or tool, and it’s certainly not, you know, day-to-day politics,’'' said Kerry. He told reporters in a call after the talks that he could only relay China's complaints about the sanctions to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
China in 2019 pumped out 27% of climate-eroding fossil fuel fumes,he United States is the second-worst offender, at 11%.
That makes China central to the world's fast-evaporating hopes of cutting fumes from use of petroleum and coal before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible.
A new UN climate architecture is emerging focused on need for speed
We need to move with lightning speed to develop our capabilities to fight climate change.And he is not wrong. In the U.S., this summer was the hottest in 126 years of records, tied with the Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Nearly one in three Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer. Climate change is accelerating and every additional increment of climate pollution is causing irreversible harm.
Kerry, the former secretary of state and Biden's global climate envoy, has led repeated calls, online meetings and visits to Chinese officials before November's U.N. climate summit in Scotland. He has urged the Chinese to move faster on steps such as cutting their building, financing and use of dirty-burning coal-fired power plants.
He and others see that summit as a last chance to make significant emissions cuts in time. Climate efforts will also be a theme of leaders at the U.N. General Assembly this coming week.
Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies
Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Today we're looking at the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee vowing to push for action on fossil fuel subsidies, John Kerry's call for China to do more on climate and updated clean-air guidelines from the WHO.For The Hill, we're Rachel Frazin and ZackToday we're looking at the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee vowing to push for action on fossil fuel subsidies, John Kerry's call for China to do more on climate and updated clean-air guidelines from the WHO.
China under President Xi Jinping has said it will hit peak climate pollution by the end of this decade and then make China climate pollution neutral by 2060, a decade later than the U.S. and other countries have pledged.
As China asserts its economic influence and territorial claims, and tension and competition rise with the United States, Xi and his officials have shown no desire to be seen as following the U.S. line on climate or anything else.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the U.S. diplomat in a video meeting onthat “China-U.S. cooperation on climate change cannot be divorced from the overall situation of China-U.S. relations.''
The U.S. should “take positive actions to bring China-U.S. relations back on track,” Wang added, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
“The Chinese believe that the U.S. needs cooperation from China more than China needs the United States,” and like others see the United States as weaker now than in the past, said Bonnie Glaser, an expert on Asia and Asia security matters at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
U.S. global climate objectives in that context are another “point of leverage, and they are trying to use that to get the United States to back off some policies they find particularly objectionable,” including U.S. pressure on human rights, Glaser said.
Kerry has said no country is as committed to human rights as the United States and that his climate discussions with China's leaders have been constructive.
But there's talk China's pressure on the human rights-climate front is having effect.
Climate change tops agenda as Iceland heads to elections
REYKJAVIK , Iceland (AP) — Climate change is top of the agenda when voters in Iceland head to the polls for general elections on Saturday, following an exceptionally warm summer and an election campaign defined by a wide-reaching debate on global warming. All nine parties running for seats at the North Atlantic island nation’s Parliament, or Althing, acknowledge global warming as a force of change in a sub-Arctic landscape. But politicians disagree on whether Iceland should take more urgent action to help curb climate change, or capitalize on it as an opportunity for economic growth — as the melting of glaciers and warmer weather offer immediate gains for Iceland’s key
An account circulating in China policy and human rights circles in Washington claimed Kerry had a forceful debate with other administration officials on the matter before his most recent China trip. Some claim administration influence in a bipartisan bill on Uyghur forced labor that stalled in the House after easily passing the Senate.
The State Department declined comment on the two matters.
Uyghur and human rights advocates say they believe administration officials are softening their tone on social media and in other public comments on China and human rights.
They point to a White House statement on a call between Xi and Biden on Sept. 9 that made no mention of human rights.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the United States continues trying to make progress on areas of both shared interest and mutual disputes with China.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is the main author of the Uyghur forced labor bill, said in a statement that administration officials' “single-minded focus on climate led them to downplay the genocide in Xinjiang."
People “working to end the genocide are horrified at what we observe" in the administration, said Julie Millsap of the Campaign for Uyghurs advocacy group. No one with knowledge of China would expect a one-off "dialogue using human rights issues as leverage for climate change is going to work," she said.
The standoff is an agonizing one for climate advocates.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, hesitated when asked about the matter. She wouldn’t trade human rights for emission cuts, she said, but “there is a way to do both.”
Asked how, Clarkson said, “I don’t tell John Kerry how to do his job. But of course, it’s important we hang on to the fundamental principles.”
Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
Which US state reps have the best records on climate policy? .
A new report evaluates elected officials in 25 state legislatures on their records on climate change policy.The average American isn’t paying much attention. Fewer than 20% of US citizens can name their state legislators, while one-third don’t know their governor, according to a study by John Hopkins University. But state senators and representatives are often the ones making decisions about land use, extractive industries, energy efficiency, and more with the most immediate impact on constituents’ quality of life.