China’s vice foreign minister had to explain to Trump they didn’t invent climate change
As president-elect Donald Trump outlines his plans to potentially withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, withdraw funding for United Nations programs to combat climate change, and vets known climate change skeptics for crucial Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) positions, one thing has become increasingly clear: Trump’s belief that global warming was invented by China, circa 2012, remains unchanged. Obviously, having a president who doubts that human actions are perpetuating global warming, dismisses climate change as “weather,” and ultimately wants to do nothing about this ecological disaster in the making, has plenty of implications for the future of our planet.
In terms of international reputation alone, this is just embarrassing. At the United Nations’ global warming talks in Morocco Wednesday, the vice foreign minister of China literally had to explain to Trump that no, the concept of global warming was actually not “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” Bloomberg reports.
Minister Liu Zhenmin clarified this by pointing out how, in the 1980s, it wasn’t China but the Reagan administration that first called for an investigation into the phenomenon of what we now recognize as climate change. Ironic how a vast plurality of Reagan-worshiping Republicans today are the ones obstructing all attempts to fight climate change, with many denying its existence altogether.
“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Zhenmin said in an obvious subtweet to Trump. He might as well have just up and said, “Sorry, but this shit’s actually on you.”
The conference taking place this week is reportedly meant to refine the Paris climate agreement and make decisions on its “finer points,” like how the treaty, which sets various goals for each country to substantially reduce carbon emissions in the years to come, will actually be enforced.
The historic treaty has been jeopardized through the election of Trump, who is allegedly looking for ways to pull out of it, as the United States, next to China, is a top global producer of carbon emissions, and it’s unlikely the treaty could be sustained if the U.S. were to pull out. Some, though, think Trump may actually keep the U.S. involved, as pulling out could result in substantial, retaliatory financial backlash by other countries involved.
Whether or not Trump keeps us on board with the treaty, his presidency should raise serious concerns about the well-being of the planet and the most vulnerable demographics affected by climate change around the world and in poorer, predominantly minority communities in the United States. In an interview with alt-right media leader Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief adviser, Trump not only dismissed climate change as “just weather,” but also bizarrely agreed with Bannon that for whatever reason, he had to choose between fighting “radical Islamic terror” and global warming (ah, the classic “either-or”). You can surely guess what our president-elect intends on prioritizing.