The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, begins this week. The United States and China are responsible for 40 percent of all carbon emissions. But hopes for successful U.S.-China engagement have dimmed since John Kerry’s preparatory meetings in China produced no results and ended by Chinese Foreign Minister WANG YI claiming climate cooperation can’t be separated from the overall situation of China-U.S. relations. China, in fact, will not attend the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
When China and the US compete, one isn’t reminded of pole vaulters or curling, one thinks of sumo wrestling. Any number of issues in politics, civil rights, trade negotiations etc. can stop progress in important unrelated fields such as global warming.
For example, consider Taiwan. The brief history is that Japan possessed the island for fifty years until the end World War II; the peace settlements placed the island under China’s management – at the time the ruling party was Kuomintang (KMT). Then in 1949 China had a civil war that drove the KMT to retreat entirely to Taiwan, declaring Taiwan to be the seat of the Chinese government. Of course the new communist government never accepted this claim. Several political conflicts between China and the West kept Taiwan in an unsettled state until 2000 when on its own Taiwan began to seek full independence from China.
Today, in fact every day, squadrons of Chinese fighter planes fly over the island; warships cruise just offshore. The rhetoric between China and Taiwan is heated. Taiwan lies only 90 miles from China mainland. The US says, “Don’t worry Taiwan, we’ve got your back.”
What does any of this have to do with COP26? Nothing. Somehow though, mariner thinks the planet is winning. Check your inner tube for leaks.