It’s long been conservatives’ favorite argument against climate action: China’s not going to do anything, so why should we bother trying? With Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. and China have reached a historic deal to cut carbon emissions, their tune has changed.
It was only the previous evening that Fox News guest Charles Krauthammer said Obama should push for a climate agreement with China, that “if we get one with China we have something real.” That echoed Krauthammer’s comments last week that “if he gets an agreement with China, which he won’t, but that’s the one area it would be historic.” Since that’s become a reality, Fox News wasn’t sure what to say Wednesday morning.
Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy asked Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, “is the agreement just a sign that China has a hold on us?” She then delivered a particularly bizarre take on the agreement:
Obama is giving China a pass on real issues, Bartiromo said, like cyber attacks, bootleg software, and handbags, and the fact that the Chinese government makes it hard for Americans to start businesses there. Doocy agreed. “You want to talk about climate change?” he asked. “First let’s talk about how you’re stealing everything from us!”
Later Doocy got a little off-message, pointing out the benefit that China cutting emissions could clean the air so “they might be able to breathe for the first time.” Bartiromo said that wasn’t likely, despite the fact that switching to clean, renewable energy would in fact mean cleaner air. And a major part of the deal is a huge shift on China’s part to clean and nuclear energy, 20 percent by 2030.
An America’s Newsroom segment that aired later on Wednesday with another Fox Business commentator, Stuart Varney, led with the title “CLIMATE DEAL WITH CHINA BLASTED AS ‘WAR ON COAL'” and then proceeded to blast the deal as a war on coal. Varney said the fact that China’s carbon emissions wouldn’t peak until 2030 meant that the deal was not just lopsided, but “a total cave on the part of President Obama.”
Both shows mischaracterized China’s role in causing climate change. “They’re the big polluters!” Doocy yelled at the beginning of the segment. Bartiromo agreed that “that’s where it’s happening” and that climate change is “something that really exists and it’s coming out of China.”
While China is currently the world’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide, that’s only been true for about a decade. For at least 50 years, the U.S. has emitted far more carbon than any other nation, more than even the entire European Union. And even though China currently emits more carbon than the U.S. does in aggregate, China has almost four times as many people, so it’s still producing far less carbon pollution per person than the America does.
CREDIT: Wikimedia Foundation