C: Alessia Pierdomenico / shuttestock.com

COP26: China fools the west’s media, again

One of the biggest problems with the western media’s coverage of climate change is that they are collectively invested in a narrative that says that progress is being made.

The reason that they must always insist that progress is being made is simple, and straightforward: In each of their own countries, mainstream journalists are unambiguously in favour of climate action. Here in Ireland, that is even truer than it is in the average country. The National Broadcaster, for example, is signed up to something called “covering climate now” – which is an unambiguously activist agenda for covering the news, designed explicitly to increase support for climate action in the audience.

The problem that these journalists face, of course, is that the most compelling argument against radical and impoverishing climate action is that that action will have a limited, to negligible, impact on the problem, at a time when all of the biggest polluters – China, the USA, India, Russia, and so on – are resolutely determined never to come close to meeting the level of carbon emission reductions that the scientists say are necessary.

If the public came to believe or realise that their sacrifices were, in effect, for naught, they might well become much more sceptical of electricity price increases, or carbon taxes, or massive subsidies for green boondoggles, and so on.

Therefore, it becomes essential to pretend – and pretend is the only word for this – that global climate progress is being made, and major agreements are being struck, and that little Ireland must accordingly do its part.

On that note, let’s hand the microphone to our friends at the Irish Times:

China and US have announced at the Cop26 conference in Glasgow that they are to work together across a wide range of climate issues.

The initiative was confirmed by China’s main negotiator at the UN summit, Xie Zhenhua, and comes despite tensions arising from president Xi Jinping not attending in person, and criticism of China’s climate response from US president Joe Biden.

Mr Xie said climate change was “a common challenge faced by humanity and was an existential threat”. There was “more agreement than divergence between China and US on the climate issue”, he said, telling a meeting of leaders and negotiators he hoped this new declaration would help make Cop26 a success.

The US and China are to focus on a wide range of actions including “the specifics of enhancing measurement and mitigation of methane”, arising from the fossil and waste sectors, “as well as incentives and programmes to reduce methane from the agricultural sector”.

That all sounds great, but it amounts to effectively nothing. Methane makes up next to nothing in terms of China’s CO2 emissions, which dominate the world. Compare the EU (of which Ireland is a miniscule part) to China in this graph:

China has not pledged to reduce emissions by one single tonne. That bears repeating: Not one single tonne. In fact, they say they will continue to increase emissions right through 2030, and their sole pledge on the climate is that they will increase energy production by using nuclear power from that year on. They still do not intend to reduce emissions: Just not increase them by as much.

Of course, to actively talk about that fact has the risk of being detrimental to climate action in the west. Therefore, the Chinese can easily rely on the western media, and western Governments, to do public relations on their behalf.

By citing this as a “breakthrough” or “progress”, when it is not, western Governments and media are letting China off the hook. The Chinese, of course, know this very well. The dynamic allows them to pose as responsible global citizens, while doing next to nothing. It also benefits China economically: The Chinese Communist Party is very well aware that Climate Action will reduce economic growth in the west, and make their country relatively stronger. It is, therefore, unambiguously in China’s interest to make token moves – like this one – on Climate, knowing that there is a huge audience in the west invested in cheering them on, no matter what they say.

This, of course, is the problem, when the media adopts the activist pose it has on the climate issue. Having originally set out to indoctrinate the public, they end up duping themselves, and becoming stooges for the Chinese Communists.

And none of it, not one iota, will have an impact on the global climate. Maybe one day people might wake up to that, and stop blaming farmers in Cavan for destroying the planet, or whatever.

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