The Chinese need to stay poor because the US has done so much to destroy the planet

In this insightful article on the Real-World Economics Review Blog, Dean Baker deconstructs the standard anti-China narrative in relation to climate change.

Firstly, he deals with the idea that, when comparing countries’ greenhouse gas emissions, population size is of no importance; what matters is absolute emissions. Baker points out that this logic could easily be applied to justify obscenely high emissions levels for any country with a relatively small population – but if all small countries were to consume such a quota, the climate crisis would be a great deal worse that it is now. The only reason US politicians insist on talking about absolute rather than per capita emissions is that, “measured in per capita terms, the United States is among the worst emitters on the planet.”

Baker also discusses the implications that “historic emissions somehow entitle a country to future emissions.” Pointing out that historical greenhouse gas emissions correlate closely with economic development, the author reiterates the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: that the advanced, wealthy countries must take the lead when it comes to reducing emissions and developing green technology. Towards this end, the US could and should “adopt a policy of making all the technology that it develops fully open-source, so that everyone in the world could take advantage of it, without concerns about patent monopolies or other protections. That would help to speed the process of diffusion so that clean technologies could be adopted more quickly around the world.”

In reality, the US ruling class shows no sign of taking such a measure. Thankfully, as Baker points out, China has taken the lead on renewable energy, electric vehicles, green public transport, forestation and biodiversity protection. “The Chinese government apparently has far more concern for the future of the planet than its critics in the United States.”

That line is effectively the conventional wisdom among people in policy circles. If that seems absurd, then you need to think more about how many politicians and intellectual types are approaching climate change.

Just this week, John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, was in China. He was asking the Chinese government to move more quickly in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. President Xi told Kerry that China was not going to move forward its current target, which is to start reducing emissions by 2030.

I know from Twitter that many people think that Kerry’s request was reasonable and that Xi is jeopardizing the planet with his refusal to move forward China’s schedule for emission reductions. This is in spite of the fact that China is by far the world leader in wind energy, solar energy, and electric cars and that all three are growing at double-digit annual rates.

Continue reading The Chinese need to stay poor because the US has done so much to destroy the planet

Kerry must understand – the climate crisis lives in a developmental context

In the following article, submitted to us by Keith Lamb, the author argues that the current China visit by John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, provides an opportunity for the two countries to cooperate in an area that is vital for the future, indeed the survival, of humanity. However, he notes that approaching this issue in isolation is not feasible in the long-term. The fight against climate catastrophe has to be combined with that for development as well as against war and for peace. The Global Development Initiative (GDI), proposed by President Xi Jinping, provides just such a holistic template and approach and is already reflected in numerous agreements between China and other countries of the Global South.

“How can we achieve our global climate goals without having Beijing working with us? We can’t, it’s that simple! There’s no way any one country can solve this crisis and particularly if we’re large emitting nations.” This was the answer of US climate envoy John Kerry being interviewed on MSNBC. He went on to claim that China and the US had agreed to separate climate, which affects us all, from the many other bilateral Sino-US issues.

This sensible recognition that there is a wider commonality binding humanity together is a welcome change from the hegemonic “America first” and faux human-rights rhetoric too often emanating from US circles. When it comes to climate and cooperation with China, Kerry went on to say that, “it’s not a question of the US giving away something, by cooperating we all gain something.”

This pragmatic win-win attitude should serve the diplomatic and well-mannered Kerry well on his current July 16-19 trip to Beijing, where he will discuss the climate crisis and hopefully promote a successful COP28 climate change conference, due to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Coming after the recent visit by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, it may also serve to thaw Sino-US tensions.

However, for real climate cooperation, which seeks the salvation of our planet and humanity, the many Sino-US tensions to which Kerry alludes cannot be bracketed off indefinitely. These tensions include the trade war, sanctions, interference in China’s domestic affairs, not least regarding Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the US’ military containment of China.

To illustrate this point, climate talks have been suspended in the past, due to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The weather balloon debacle led to Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceling his Beijing visit. The pushing of China’s red lines, the threatening of China’s integrity, and the China threat hysteria all push the world closer to the possibility of environmental annihilation, as the US plays a fool’s game of ‘chicken’, risking nuclear catastrophe.

Even without this dire outcome, according to Brown University, the US military is responsible for twice the amount of greenhouse emissions as all the cars in the US. War causes incalculable damage to the environment due to factors such as fuel infrastructure destruction and the use of depleted uranium.[1] In Ukraine, we have seen how the destruction of energy infrastructure has led to renewed use of coal and the purchasing of expensive and environmentally damaging US fracked gas by Europe.

Continue reading Kerry must understand – the climate crisis lives in a developmental context

Renewable energy development is less important than stopping Chinese industry!

In this brief but incisive blog post, Canadian anti-imperialist writer Justin Podur unpacks the contradictory remarks made by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during her visit to Beijing, complaining about China’s use of state subsidies in certain parts of its economy. As Justin points out, “if the market system is the best and most efficient, why would Yellen complain about China using state subsidies or protections and interfering in it? Wouldn’t that just allow the US to use the market to win the game?” And why would they want China to adopt measures that would – according to free-market fundamentalism – accelerate its rise?

The reality is that the US wants Beijing to adopt an economic strategy that “would actually destroy the basis of China’s growth and ensure its subordination to the US.” One side-effect of this is that it would cause a major disruption to the solar energy industry, in which China is dominant (Justin notes that China holds 80 percent of photovoltaic patents worldwide). As such, “the imperialist anxiety to stop the rise of Chinese industry conflicts with the green priority for a transition to renewables.” But in this battle of priorities between hegemonism and the environment, the US is siding with hegemonism. An important reminder that the struggle against the New Cold War is also a struggle to keep the planet habitable.

Janet Yellen went to China and warned them there would be consequences if they didn’t adopt a market economy. There’s so many admissions in this little statement that shouldn’t go unnoticed. If the market system is the best and most efficient, as its proponents claim, why would Yellen complain about China using state subsidies or protections and interfering in it? Wouldn’t that just allow the US to use the market to win the game? If the market is the “cheat code”, as the gamers say, then how could China “cheat” by using non-market mechanisms? The flip side of the coin is also there. If the US, as its officials repeatedly cry, is desperate to stop the rise of China, why would they advise China to take steps (like market reforms) that should, according to market theory, only accelerate China’s rise? Perhaps it is because Yellen knows market reforms would actually destroy the basis of China’s growth and ensure its subordination to the US.

I want to talk about one of these Chinese industries that has grown up under state subsidy and protection that is – again according to Western environmentalists – very important in the struggle against climate change: photovoltaics (solar panels) and other renewable energy technologies.

There’s this video from a youtube channel called Tech Teller that outlines some details about the rise of China’s PV industry. The news hook for the video was the arrest of a Chinese PV executive, Pu Yonghua of Jiangsu Green Power New Energy, in Germany. It looked like Germany was going to pull a Canada (with the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou of Huawei) and get into a pointless years-long conflict at US urging. But it looks like Pu Yonghua was released a few days later.

Tech teller’s video provides some “startling figures” about China’s dominance in PV:

  • of 150,000 PV patents worldwide, Chinese companies hold 120,000 of them.
  • The top ten PV companies in the world are all Chinese.
  • Chinese PV has a market share of 60% in the US and peaked at 95% in the EU. EU’s domestic PV capacity accounted for 3% of market share there.
  • 200 countries are customers of Chinese PV products.

The EU’s attempt to raise its renewable energy use to reduce its dependence on Russian gas is ultimately a plan to transfer its dependence on Russia — to China.

China’s PV industry is so far ahead that the US and EU industries are going to have a lot of difficulty catching up. This despite, as the video tells, depraved and repeated attempts to stop China from developing by both the US and EU.

There are problems with PV, as environmentalists like Stan Cox have noted, including the mining footprint of rare earths and the use of fossil fuels in their production. But there is a Green consensus on the need to get off of fossil fuels and PV technology will be key to get there. The imperialist anxiety to stop the rise of Chinese industry conflicts with Green the green priority for a transition to renewables. It is another case of Western imperialism vs the environment. If you believe climate change is an existential issue for the species like nuclear war, you could use Chomsky’s phrase and consider it a choice between Hegemony or Survival.

Which do you think the US will choose?

Can we avoid war with China, and save the planet instead?

In this review of Carlos Martinez’s The East is Still Red: Chinese Socialism in the 21st Century, author and activist Dee Knight decries the US ruling class’s obsession with maintaining its “single-superpower status”. This obsession – shared by both Republicans and Democrats – is the top source of instability and the threat of war. Furthermore, it stands in the way of desperately-needed cooperation to prevent climate breakdown.

Dee writes that, while the US is aggressive in asserting its hegemony, China is “aggressive about saving the planet”, becoming the world’s first renewable energy superpower. It is in the process of shifting its growth model towards high-quality, green growth, based on innovation and emphasizing fairness of distribution. However, China’s path to modernization – built on common prosperity, peace, and harmony with nature – is “viable for a socialist society, but difficult to achieve with capitalism in which growth is the holy grail, no matter at what cost.” Dee writes that “China can indeed have ‘the best of both worlds’ – faster growth through centralized planning in a mixed economy, and better quality development since it doesn’t have to depend exclusively on the profit motive.”

As such, China’s socialism provides valuable inspiration and support for the countries of the Global South.

This article was first carried in LA Progressive on 22 June 2023.

Carlos’s book can be purchased in paperback and electronic formats from Praxis Press.

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in China June 18, a NY Times report said “a wall of suspicion awaits him.” In a phone call before the visit, the report said “China’s foreign minister told Mr. Blinken it was ‘clear who bears responsibility’ for deteriorating bilateral relations.” The report added that the US has “issued a barrage of sanctions on Chinese officials and companies, and tried to cut off Chinese access to critical technology globally.”

The next day Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Blinken. Xi said China “respects the interests of the United States and will not challenge or replace the United States,” and that Washington “must also respect China and not harm China’s legitimate rights and interests.” Xi also said what happens between the two countries has a “bearing on the future and destiny of mankind,” and that their two governments “should properly handle Sino-US relations with an attitude of being responsible to history, the people and the world.”

There was a near-war incident in the Taiwan Strait during the second week of June. A Chinese patrol boat intercepted a US Navy war ship. The two vessels came within about 150 yards of each other, according to reports. US officials deemed the Chinese interception an “unnecessary provocation,” claiming its war ship was merely exercising freedom of navigation on the open seas. The Chinese defense minister said such “freedom of navigation” patrols are a provocation to China.

For US officials The Taiwan Strait is “open seas,” but China regards the narrow waterway as part of its internal territorial waters. For comparison, we can imagine what would happen if China sent war ships to exercise freedom of navigation next to the island of Santa Catalina, near Los Angeles, or near Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.

The Taiwan Strait interception is a reminder of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to the nightmare of war in Vietnam. The two incidents are part of a pattern: the US first fosters and fortifies “friendly” elements inside a country it wants to dominate, then deploys its military dangerously close to the chosen enemy’s borders; then it accuses the enemy of “aggression.” The pattern has been at work against both China and Russia in recent years. The results have already been disastrous, and could easily become catastrophic.

Continue reading Can we avoid war with China, and save the planet instead?

Oppose the war drive and work with China to prevent climate catastrophe

Below is the text of the speech given by Paul Atkin, a retired teacher, National Education Union activist and climate campaigner, to the event we recently co-organised at the Marx Memorial Library in London, Socialist solutions to the climate crisis.

Paul gives an overview of China’s impressive efforts towards preventing climate breakdown and protecting biodiversity. For example, while China is still quite dependent on coal, the proportion of coal in China’s energy mix has dropped from over 80 percent to more like 50 percent in the space of just over a decade. China accounts for half the world’s off-shore wind investment and approximately 99 percent of the world’s electric buses (“in 2019, of 425,000 electric buses in the world, 2,500 of them were not in China”). China’s investment in wind and solar has had an important global impact, in that it has “been on such a large scale that it has made them a cheaper source of energy than fossil fuels, which is a crucial global life line.”

China’s unprecedented investment in high-speed rail has resulted in a decrease in domestic air traffic – in contrast with the US, where there is almost no high-speed rail and domestic air traffic is increasing. While the US spends 14 times as much on its military than on green transition, China spends more than double on its green transition than on its military.

Unfortunately, Paul observes, the anti-China propaganda in the West is so powerful that very few are paying attention to its progress on these issues, even within the left and the climate movement. Paul calls on socialists and climate activists to tell the truth about China and expose lies; to oppose the war drive; and to oppose the notion of decoupling, noting that the US’s sanctions on solar panels from China have led to a 23 percent reduction in solar installations in the US.

The speech is also published on Paul’s Urban Ramblings blog.

What China does to tackle the climate crisis will have a huge impact on whether humanity succumbs to it or not.

This is partly because it

  • is already the world’s largest economy in Purchase Power Parity terms
  • has a population greater than that of Europe, North America, South America and Australasia combined; a four continent country
  • is a developing country that has developed very successfully
  • is now exceeding the US in the number of patents for new inventions filed every year
  • is a country run, not by the private sector interests that make the USA the best democracy money can buy, but by a Communist Party with 90 million members; whose project is to build Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

This is in a context in which the US – as the self proclaimed “indispensable nation” and “global leader” – the country for which the rules in the “rules based international order” are written – is failing spectacularly to lead the world in confronting its greatest existential challenge – the breakdown of the climactic conditions in which human society can continue to exist – and prioritising war instead.

  • On current government spending, the US is putting fourteen times as much into its military as it is into domestic green transmission, and is encouraging its allies to increase theirs too; which they are doing.
  • The economic context of this is that, because globalisation now favours China not the US, the US is “decoupling” from it and pressing its subordinate allies to do the same, while screwing them over at the same time.
  • China, by contrast, is spending more than twice as much on green transition as on its military. More precise look at these figures here.

China’s is the right priority for every country because of the scale of the problem. Reports that the 1.5C limit is fast getting beyond reach should be a klaxon going off in all our heads. Not an invitation to fatalism, which will be fatal, but to redouble efforts to accelerate the scale and speed of transition to limit the damage as much as possible.

Continue reading Oppose the war drive and work with China to prevent climate catastrophe

Nicaraguan ambassador: only socialist and revolutionary countries are putting people over profit

Below we are pleased to publish the text of the powerful speech given by Guisell Morales Echaverry, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland, to the event we recently co-organised at the Marx Memorial Library in London, Socialist solutions to the climate crisis.

Guisell notes it’s the socialist and progressive governments – including China, Cuba and Nicaragua – that are taking the most resolute action on protecting the environment. She goes on to describe Nicaragua’s extraordinary progress tackling ecological issues whilst simultaneously bringing about a historic reduction in poverty and improvement in people’s living conditions.

She concludes: “The capitalist system is killing the planet. With its insatiable pursuit of profit and market anarchy, it’s destroying the environment, wiping out ecosystems and biodiversity, and polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink. Capitalism is driving humanity to extinction. The need to create a new international socialist economic model is urgent.”

Climate change is no longer an impending threat or hypothetical problem for future generations.  It is here and now. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful. Forests are burning. Plastic and chemical waste is polluting underground water and oceans. Heat waves, drought, floods, and famine are killing people and creating an exodus of refugees. Species are becoming extinct through the senseless destruction of ecosystems.

But also, the knowledge, the science, the means are here: to decarbonise electricity grids and transport, to slashed Pollution levels, to grow food sustainable, to recycle waste, and for the forests to be replanted.

But this requires two things: planning and resources.

Capitalist countries, the historical and current biggest polluters, are not willing to carry out the radical changes that are required, because these changes are not profitable. 

Only socialist and revolutionary countries are putting the planet and people over profit, with bold transformative action to curtail climate change.

Only socialist and progressive governments can bring about the daring transformations to overcome this threat to humanity.

We will hear from the panelists – from Dan Kovalik, Lauren Collins, Paul Atkin – about the efforts made by socialist, revolutionary and progressive countries to overcome climate disaster; specifically how Nicaragua, Cuba and China are making huge environmental achievements to improve the living conditions of working people in harmony with the planet.

Continue reading Nicaraguan ambassador: only socialist and revolutionary countries are putting people over profit

Event in London explores socialist solutions to the climate crisis

On Thursday 2 February 2023, Friends of Socialist China organised – along with the Marx Memorial Library, Morning Star, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group and Cuba Solidarity Campaign – a hybrid in-person/online event at Marx Memorial Library on socialist solutions to the climate crisis, with a particular focus on the strategies being pursued in China, Nicaragua and Cuba in relation to preventing climate breakdown, the collapse of biodiversity, and other key ecological challenges.

Guisell Morales Echaverry, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland, noted that the major capitalist countries – historically the biggest polluters – have utterly failed to meaningfully address the environmental crisis. Instead, it’s the socialist and progressive governments that are taking resolute action and that have been powerful voices for climate justice. Guisell described Nicaragua’s remarkable progress on ecological issues, including sourcing 70 percent of its energy from renewable sources; its successes in pursuing food sovereignty; and its commitment to agroecology and agroforestry. She concluded by stating that the capitalist system is killing the planet with its market anarchy and relentless pursuit of profit. It’s driving us to extinction. Socialism is the future and the key to human survival.

Ben Chacko, editor of the Morning Star, observed that Britain, the US and the other Western powers are failing to meet their ecological commitments. They claim to understand there’s a problem that needs solving, but they’ve left the green transition in the hands of companies that profit the most from fossil fuels. What we end up with is greenwashing, such as rebranding BP as ‘Beyond Petroleum’. Ben made a connection between the questions of climate breakdown and war, pointing to the extraordinary environmental damage caused by the military-industrial complex, most of all the US military. Meanwhile the sanctions regime against Russia is causing significant reverses, with Germany for example reopening coal mines. Ben contrasted this with the action being taken in the socialist world – “there’s a clear attitude in Beijing, Havana and Managua that we have to urgently face up to this crisis.”

Dan Kovalik, US-based activist and lawyer, and author of the new book Nicaragua: A History of Us Intervention & Resistance, said that climate change is a problem created by rich people and rich countries, but it’s a problem that’s having its most devastating effect on poor people and poor countries; he cited the startling fact that the Dallas Cowboys stadium uses more electricity on a game night than Liberia does in an entire day. Dan talked in detail about the relationship between war and the environment – for example the disastrous environmental degradation suffered by Iraq – and noted that China, Cuba and Nicaragua are all countries that prioritise humanity and the planet rather than engaging in military aggression. He pointed to the importance of Lula’s victory in the Brazilian elections, observing that, when asked if Brazil would send weapons to Ukraine, Lula said that our war is with poverty, not Russia. Dan described the important work being done in Nicaragua on alternative fuels, rainforest protection, protection of indigenous lands, and integration into a rising multipolar system of international relations.

Lauren Collins, an honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham and member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign executive committee, talked about Cuba’s approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation and highlighted Cuba’s vulnerability to the environmental crisis: while Cuba is responsible for just 0.06 percent of global emissions, it’s experiencing a significant increase in severe weather events, hurricanes, rising sea levels, degradation of arable land, drought and higher temperatures, all of which are having a serious impact on health and agriculture. Lauren described Tarea Vida, Cuba’s wide-ranging state program to confront climate change, which places a strong emphasis on community self-organisation and the participation of trade unions, Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Women and other mass organisations in adapting to the changing ecosystem. Lauren also spoke of the devastating impact of the US’s illegal blockade, one of the effects of which is to shut Cuba out of various funding sources for climate change adaptation.

Paul Atkin, a retired teacher, National Education Union activist and climate campaigner, focused on China’s impressive efforts towards preventing climate breakdown and protecting biodiversity. For example, while China is still quite dependent on coal, the proportion of coal in China’s energy mix has dropped from over 80 percent to more like 50 percent in the space of just over a decade. China accounts for half the world’s off-shore wind investment and approximately 99 percent of the world’s electric buses. China’s unprecedented investment in high-speed rail has resulted in a decrease in domestic air traffic – in contrast with the US, where there is almost no high-speed rail and domestic air traffic is increasing. While the US spends 14 times as much on its military than on green transition, China spends more than double on its green transition than on its military. Unfortunately, Paul observed, the anti-China propaganda in the West is so powerful that very few are paying attention to its progress on these issues, even within the left and the climate movement. Paul called on the audience to tell the truth about China and expose lies; to oppose the war drive; and to oppose the notion of decoupling, noting that the US’s sanctions on solar panels from China have led to a 23 percent reduction in solar installations in the US.

A lively and useful Q&A session followed the presentations. The stream of the event is embedded below.

Event: Socialist solutions to the climate crisis

DateThursday 2 February
Time7pm Britain / 2pm US Eastern / 11am US Pacific
VenueMarx Memorial Library
London EC1R 0DU
And Zoom
OrganisersFriends of Socialist China
Morning Star
Marx Memorial Library
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
Cuba Solidarity Campaign

At this event, we will describe the evolving and diverse strategies being pursued in socialist and progressive countries (with a specific focus on Nicaragua, Cuba and China) in relation to preventing climate breakdown, the collapse of biodiversity, and other key ecological challenges. The speakers will compare these efforts with the alarmingly slow progress being made in the neoliberal West, which has been touting its ‘market-based solutions’ to humanity’s environmental crisis for the last three decades.

This will be a hybrid event, in-person at the Marx Memorial Library in London and online. If you register on Eventbrite, you will have the option to attend via Zoom and participate in the discussion. We will also be streaming on YouTube.

Participants

Dan Kovalik is a US-based lawyer, activist and teacher. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention and Resistance.

Guisell Morales Echaverry is Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland.

Lauren Collins is an honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham and a member of the executive committee of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

Paul Atkin is a retired teacher and NEU activist, involved in setting up the NEU Climate Change Network. He is part of the Greener Jobs Alliance Steering Group and is active with No Cold War Britain.

Ben Chacko (chair) is editor of the Morning Star.

Please register and spread the word!

Summit links biodiversity with culture

The following article, published in China Daily, summarizes the proceedings of a Nature and Culture summit held during the 15th meeting of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Montreal on 11-12 December 2022. The article is particularly interesting for the points it makes regarding the role of minority groups in protecting the environment and promoting a harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature.

Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment, and the president of COP15, “stressed the importance of cultural diversity, especially the experience and knowledge from minority groups.” Huang also highlighted the importance of fully respecting and protecting traditional cultures around the world, appreciating and making use of their understanding of biodiversity protection and encouraging the transmission of this understanding from generation to generation.

The article contrasts this approach with the colonial powers’ record of land grabs, intellectual property restrictions and profiteering. Indigenous Canadian activist and academic Priscilla Settee, professor emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan, told the meeting that “we need to get our history right. We need to acknowledge the centuries of colonialism … based in global imperialism through land grabs. We need to take a critical look at international free trade agreements that I call bills of rights for the rich and powerful.”

A global dialogue on strengthening the links between nature and cultures to achieve a sustainable and ecological civilization also highlighted the achievements and actions taken by China.

Officials, experts and nongovernmental organization (NGO) members gathered at a Nature and Culture summit during the 15th meeting of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Dec 11-12, in support of the implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

In his opening remarks, Huang Runqiu, the Chinese minister of ecology and environment and the president of COP15, stressed the importance of cultural diversity, especially the experience and knowledge from minority groups.

The relationship between nature and culture is vibrant, said Huang. Culture is deeply intertwined with the natural world. Chinese culture contains a clear concept of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, he said.

For example, Yunnan province, where the first phase of the COP15 meeting was held, is home to 26 traditional ethnic groups and 15 unique minority groups, forming a series of traditional ecological cultures such as the Hani Terrace Culture, Naxi Dongba Culture, Dai Long Mountain Culture, and Tibetan Holy Land Culture.

Their worldviews, cultural values and identities are closely connected to nature, as per their saying, “Humans and nature are half-brothers”.

Continue reading Summit links biodiversity with culture

Xi Jinping: global solidarity is the only way to protect biodiversity

The following speech by Xi Jinping, delivered at COP15 (the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity), details China’s progress over the past decade in biodiversity protection, including the establishment of a system of conservation red lines, a system of national parks, and the successful protection of a large array of rare and endangered species. Xi makes it clear that China is strongly committed to improving biodiversity and will continue to work hard on ecological protection.

The speech also highlights the importance of international cooperation; that “solidarity and cooperation is the only effective way to address global challenges” such as biodiversity protection and the Covid19 pandemic. Xi calls for greater support to be given to developing countries to allow them to build capacity in dealing with climate change and biodiversity. This is a salutary reminder, at a time when the major imperialist powers are promoting “decoupling” and adopting aggressive geopolitical stances – promoting their own narrow, hegemonic interests over the wellbeing and long-term viability of humanity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Good morning.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, and also in my own name, I would like to extend warm congratulations to the convening of today’s meeting.

Humanity lives in a community with a shared future. Be it in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, or in enhancing biodiversity protection and achieving sustainable development globally, solidarity and cooperation is the only effective way to address global challenges. A sound ecosystem is essential for the prosperity of civilization. We must work together to promote harmonious co-existence between man and Nature, build a community of all life on the Earth, and create a clean and beautiful world for us all.

— We need to build global consensus on biodiversity protection, jointly work for the conclusion of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and identify targets and pathways for global biodiversity protection.

— We need to push forward the global process of biodiversity protection, turn ambitions into action, support developing countries in capacity-building, and coordinate efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss and other global challenges.

— We need to promote green development through biodiversity protection, speed up the green transition of development modes and lifestyle, and leverage the Global Development Initiative (GDI) to deliver greater benefits to people of all countries.

— We need to uphold a fair and equitable global order on biodiversity protection, firmly defend true multilateralism, firmly support the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, and form strong synergy for protecting the Earth, our common homeland.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: global solidarity is the only way to protect biodiversity

On the development of China’s environmental policies towards an ecological civilization

We are very pleased to republish this important article by Efe Can Gürcan, Associate Professor at Türkiye’s Istinye University, which originally appeared in Volume 3 Issue 3 of the BRIQ (Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly).

The author argues that China has already developed a firm understanding of its environmental problems and their severity to the extent that it now frames them as a “matter of survival” and has brought these issues to the center of its revised national security strategy. China’s strategy is predicated on an alternative proposal for “ecological civilization”, which may potentially lead to the reversal of “ecological imperialism”. China is in the early stages of building an ecological civilization and requires a lot of work to reach a high level of ecological development.

China’s key achievements on the path towards ecological civilization involve a series of three unfolding and mutually conditioning revolutionary processes that also lead the way in international environmental cooperation. They include a clean energy revolution, a sustainable agricultural revolution, and a green urban revolution.

China has already become a global leader in green finance. It leads the eco-city movement, with over 43 percent of the world’s eco-cities being Chinese, and is the second leader in sustainable architecture, next to Canada. Many Chinese cities have dropped down or out of the list of the most polluted cities, leaving India and Pakistan at the top. China’s cities have also joined the ranks of those with the strongest sewage treatment capacity in the world. In addition, China has the most electric vehicles, bikes, and efficient public transportation. China is considered to be not only the world’s centre of electric bus production and consumption but also as having cities with the world’s longest subway systems.

From 2013 onwards, the share of coal in China’s total energy consumption has seen a noticeable decline, accompanied by the increasing share of renewable resources in total energy consumption as a result of conscious efforts at a clean energy revolution.

Key to this revolution in the making is China’s strong reputation as the world’s top investor in clean energy. As such, it has succeeded in creating the world’s largest wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems for power generation.

Finally, concerning China’s unfolding revolution in sustainable agriculture, one should acknowledge, not only its adoption of green food standards and the expansion of its agricultural area under certified organic farming, but especially the fact that, as a world leader in green agriculture, it now ranks third in the list of countries with the largest agricultural area under organic farming.

China is the world’s largest country by population size and fourth largest by surface area. Combined with its excessive demographic and geographic size is the continued legacy of Western imperialism in China as a former semi-colony, whose negative effects are amplified by current Western efforts in geopolitical and geo-economic containment. This adds to China’s resource scarcity which acts as another structural adversity constraining its development potential. China possesses only 7% of the world’s arable land and freshwater resources and 8% of the world’s natural resources, even though its population represents 22% of the world’s population. Furthermore, only 19% of its surface area is suitable for human habitation and 65% of its surface area is rugged, which severely cripples China’s farming capabilities and facilitates ethnic heterogeneity as a potential impediment to political cohesion (Morton, 2006; Naughton, 2018).

Despite such adversities, China has come to develop an exemplary model of economic development that inspires much of the developing world. The 1979-2018 period testified to an average growth rate of 9.4% in the lead of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which made China the world’s second-largest economy, top producer, and the leading exporter of technological goods (Hu, 2020). By 2015, China came to assume the global production of 40% of washing machines, 50% of textiles, 60% of buttons, 70% of shoes, 80% of televisions, and 90% of toys. Recently, China has made significant progress in the production of added higher-value products in computer, aviation, and medical technology sectors, among others. Besides its historic success in economic growth, industrial production and technological development, the Chinese economic miracle is credited for 70% of global poverty eradication between 1990 and 2015 (Gardner, 2018).

The huge ecological cost of such a fast-paced and dramatic development –unprecedented in the history of human civilization– is nothing but expected. According to 2009 estimates, the annual economic cost of environmental pollution amounts to 3.8% of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Zhang, 2014:32-48). Over 80% of China’s underground and river water resources are no longer fit for human use due to pollution (Jie, 2016). Land pollution and soil erosion are also part of China’s major environmental problems. It is common knowledge that excessive use of pesticides and industrial pollution constitute a major source of land pollution, prompting the loss of organic matter and soil erosion. 2013 estimates suggest that close to 20% of China’s cultivated farmland suffers from contamination and 38% of the soil is subjected to erosion-related loss of nutrients and organic matter (Scott et al., 2018:26; Gardner, 2018:9). Indeed, the contraction of arable land is a natural result of soil contamination and erosion. This also explains China’s over 4% loss of arable land between 1990 and 2018, from 124,481,000 to 119,488,700 hectares (FAO, 2021; Figure 1).

China being the world’s largest pesticide producer and consumer exacerbates this tendency. In the 1990- 2018 period alone, China’s pesticide use rose by 129% (FAO, 2021; see Figure 2). Furthermore, 70% of the world’s electronic waste is recycled in China at the expense of environmental and public health. Industrial pollution, environmentally detrimental recycling practices, and industrial agriculture combined to create China’s “cancer villages” (Gardner, 2018). Map 1 provides a more detailed outline of China’s major environmental problems (Sanjuan, 2018).

Continue reading On the development of China’s environmental policies towards an ecological civilization

China is building an ecological civilisation

In this detailed essay, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez analyses China’s pursuit of an ecological civilisation, characterised by “green, circular, and low-carbon development.”

Explaining how China came to be the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and contextualising this within the country’s rapid industrialisation and development, Carlos details the steps China is taking in support of its goals to peak emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Its achievements to date – in the fields of renewable energy, reduction of coal usage, nuclear power, energy efficiency, low-carbon transport and forestation – are all world-leading.

Carlos concludes the article with a discussion of why China, as opposed to any of the leading capitalist countries, has emerged as the global leader in sustainable development. The central component is that “the balance of power in capitalist countries is such that even relatively progressive governments find it very difficult to prioritise long-term needs of the population over short-term interests of capital,” whereas in socialist countries, “the interests of private profit are subordinate to the needs of society.”

Referencing the role played by the construction of welfare states in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in pressuring the Western ruling classes to grant concessions to the working class (in the form of universal education, social housing and healthcare systems), the author opines that, today, “China’s environmental strategy can create pressure on the capitalist ruling classes to stop destroying the planet and commit to climate justice.”

This is an expanded and update version of the 2019 article China leads the way in tackling climate breakdown. A concise summary of the current version was carried by the Morning Star on 19 November 2022.

We must strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. We will be more conscientious in promoting green, circular, and low-carbon development. We will never again seek economic growth at the cost of the environment. (Xi Jinping)[1]

The cost of development

Few events in human history have resonated throughout the world as profoundly as the Chinese Revolution. Standing in Tiananmen Square on 1 October 1949, pronouncing the birth of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong said “the Chinese people have stood up”. In standing up, in building a modern socialist society and throwing off the shackles of feudalism, colonialism, backwardness, illiteracy and grinding poverty, China has blazed a trail for the entire Global South. Lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty has been described even by ardent capitalists as “the greatest leap to overcome poverty in history”.[2] The UN Development Programme (UNDP) describes China’s development as having produced “the most rapid decline in absolute poverty ever witnessed”.[3] It is an extraordinary accomplishment that all Chinese people now have secure access to food, housing, clothing, clean water, modern energy, education and healthcare.

In environmental terms, however, this progress has come at a cost. Just as economic development in Europe and the Americas was fuelled by the voracious burning of fossil fuels, China’s development has been built to a significant degree on ‘Old King Coal’, the most polluting and emissions-intensive of the fossil fuels. Two decades ago, coal made up around 80 percent of China’s energy mix. Environmental law expert Barbara Finamore notes that “coal, plentiful and cheap, was the energy source of choice, not just for power plants, but also for direct combustion by heavy industry and for heating and cooking in people’s homes.”[4]

Continue reading China is building an ecological civilisation

The people need a Green New Deal, but imperialism opts for “Better dead than red”

At the recent webinar marking the first anniversary of the International Manifesto Group’s document ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez made a contribution about the ecological crises faced by humanity, comparing the progress (or lack thereof) tackling global warming in the West with that made by China.

Carlos observes that, in spite of the Biden administration’s oft-stated commitment to seriously reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, the US-led proxy war against Russia is having a disastrous environmental impact, leading to an increase in fracking and coal consumption. Meanwhile China is leading the world in renewable energy, electric vehicles and afforestation; and instead of cooperating with China and finding common solutions to common problems, the West instead imposes sanctions on Chinese products that are crucial to green energy supply chains. So, while people in the West might want a Green New Deal, but what they’re actually getting is “better dead than red.”

What I’m going to address in these brief remarks is the question of climate change; how it’s covered in the Manifesto, and the developments that have taken place in the last year since the Manifesto was released.

The Manifesto talks of “an ecological emergency of climate warming, pollution and biodiversity loss, rendering our planet increasingly uninhabitable.” And it points the blame for this situation at neoliberal capitalism, which has “turned everything the earth offers humanity gratis into plunder and profit.”

In terms of what neoliberal capitalism is doing, this analysis – very sad to say – still holds true. Indeed the situation is in many ways worse than it was a year ago, in spite of a great deal of rhetoric and the passing into US law, two months ago, of the Inflation Reduction Act, including climate commitments that Joe Biden considers to be a landmark success of his presidency to date.

It is, unquestionably, the US’s must important set of climate commitments thus far. Unfortunately, that’s not saying very much. It’s still nowhere near the type of unprecedented action the world needs from the US – which, of the major countries, has the highest per capita emissions in the world, and which has contributed a full quarter to global cumulative carbon emissions, in spite of having just four percent of the world’s population.

Even if the US meets its targets under the Inflation Reduction Act – which is doubtful enough – then in five years time it will still be generating significantly less renewable energy than China will generate this year.

But anyway, it’s more fruitful to look at what the US and its allies are actually doing, as opposed to what they say they’re doing or will do.

Most obviously, the US is driving NATO’s proxy war against Russia, which is nothing short of disastrous in environmental terms.

Continue reading The people need a Green New Deal, but imperialism opts for “Better dead than red”

Video: China plans new era of revolution in 20th CPC national congress

On 21 October 2022, Friends of Socialist China co-editors Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez joined Multipolarista editor Ben Norton to discuss the CPC’s 20th National Congress, currently drawing to a close in Beijing.

In the 90-minute stream embedded below, the three discuss some of the key themes emerging from the Congress, including the pursuit of China’s Second Centenary Goal (“building a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful”), common prosperity, ecological civilization, whole-process people’s democracy, and the need for self-reliance and military modernization in the face of escalating hostility from the imperialist countries.

The stream was broadcast simultaneously on Multipolarista, The Left Lens, and Friends of Socialist China.

Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

The following article, reprinted from MR (Monthly Review) Online – and also published by the Poyang Lake Journal in China – is an extensive interview by three Chinese scholars with Professor John Bellamy Foster on the specificity of the ecological civilization project to China. Bellamy Foster is a significant and original Marxist theoretician and edits the long-established independent socialist journal Monthly Review. Much of his work in recent years has been devoted to exploring the synergy between ecology and Marxism.

The interviewers note that he opposes and refutes the severing of connections between Chinese ecological tradition and Marxism, in a way that would place the latter in opposition to Chinese traditional culture. Bellamy Foster contends that synergizing the various factors involved is a daunting task, “but I would immediately dispel the notion that… [it is] insurmountable by pointing to one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century: Joseph Needham.”

Bellamy Foster’s citing of Needham in this context is significant. The main compiler of the monumental, multi-volume series, Science and Civilization in China, in its obituary, the Independent newspaper described him as “possibly the greatest scholar since Erasmus.” Yet his contributions to Marxism remain largely overlooked by the left. According to Bellamy Foster, “For Needham, it was the dialectical vision of Karl Marx that was most crucial in creating a renewed ecological vision in the present day. But it was also necessary to draw on… traditional Chinese thought,” including Daoism, a method that Bellamy Foster also employs.

Developing his argument that it is specifically China’s socialist orientation that enables the country to be today’s pioneer in the development of an ecological civilization, Bellamy Foster notes:

“As Needham insisted, there are deep ecological roots in Chinese culture. Nevertheless, it is socialism with Chinese characteristics and ecological Marxism that have put the concept of ecological civilization on the agenda today in China in a way that is entirely absent in the capitalist world system itself… [President] Xi spoke of ‘socialist eco-civilization,’ involving ‘a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony… [with] nature.’ Here he was acknowledging that there can be no true ‘global endeavor for ecological civilization’ unless it is at the same time a movement toward socialism.”

In contrast, Bellamy Foster notes that: “Although it is true that the notion of a Green New Deal has been raised by progressives in the West, that conception is usually seen as simply a Green Keynesianism or green corporatism… Moreover, while China has made moves to implement its radical conception of ecological civilization, which is built into state planning and regulation, the notion of a Green New Deal has taken concrete form nowhere in the West. It is merely a slogan at this point without any real political backing within the system. It was talked about by progressive forces and then rejected by the powers that be.”

In the course of the interview, Bellamy Foster develops his thinking on the process of urbanization and the evolving rural/urban balance in China, in the course of which he makes the important point that: “One of the extraordinary results of the Chinese Revolution that still persists today, but is not commonly understood in the West, is that despite the breakup of collective farms and the earlier communal structure, the land in China still is collectively owned by the rural population. In this sense, de-collectivization did not extend to full privatization. Agriculture is still to a considerable extent organized by village communities.”

Questioned on his assertion that “ecological communism cannot be truly realized if there is no environmental proletariat, Bellamy Foster takes issue with the historic influence of economism in socialist thought, explaining that: “The concept of the proletariat was economistically reduced to the industrial proletariat or industrial working class and commonly restricted to the urban population. Yet Marx and Engels themselves had a much wider conception of the proletariat, not restricted to, say, the role of factory workers. Nor did they see material conditions simply in narrow economic terms, but rather as encompassing the larger environment of the workers.”

This, he asserts, can be most clearly seen in Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, and continues: “Contrary to myth, Marx and Engels were not anti-peasant but wrote a great deal supporting peasant class struggles. Moreover, the great socialist revolutions in Russia, China, and elsewhere, involved proletarian-peasant alliances… The ‘wretched of the earth’ today are struggling over material conditions that are as much environmental as economic, with changing environmental conditions an indirect product of world capital accumulation.”

All in all, this is a very serious and thought-provoking interview that merits careful reading.

Guo Jianren: Professor Foster, thank you for doing this interview. This is my first interview with you and, as far as I know, the first interview you have completed with an ecological Marxism scholar from mainland China. The honor is mine, especially as I have a fairly long acquaintance with your great works. Back in 2004, in my doctoral dissertation, I introduced your works on ecological Marxism in a systematic way to the Chinese Marxist academic readers. In the following decades, we have studied your ecological Marxism closely, and your important contributions have been recognized, examined, and disseminated further. Thank you again for giving this lecture on “Ecological Civilization and Ecological Revolution: An Ecological Marxist Perspective” at the invitation of the Sunshine Valley Cobb Ecological Institute. This interview will mainly follow the key points of your speech.

Your lecture begins with the dialectical connections among ecological civilization, ecological Marxism, and ecological revolution, viewed from both historical and practical perspectives. You demonstrate the importance of ecological socialism or ecological Marxism in the conception of ecological civilization, and point out that in non-socialist countries, people can only talk about ecological civilization in an abstract and empty way. You oppose and refute the cultural theorist Jeremy Lent’s interpretation of the conception of Chinese ecological civilization, which separates the connections between Chinese ecological civilization, socialism, and the Marxist ideological tradition, placing Chinese traditional culture in opposition to Marxism. This makes Lent’s analysis seriously inconsistent with the historical process and practical reality of China’s ecological civilization’s conceptional development. In contrast, your analysis leads to an issue that we are very concerned about. In relation to your ecological-materialism method developed on the basis of historical materialism and dialectical materialism, and in accordance with the theoretical research into ecological Marxism and Chinese ecological civilization, the question arises: How is this connected to ideological and cultural elements other than Marxism, such as achievements in natural science, incorporation of Chinese traditional cultural concepts, or the role of Whiteheadian organic philosophy? This is a critical issue for studies of ecological Marxism in China right now, and one in which there is an urgent need for theoretical breakthroughs. Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping’s thoughts on ecological civilization in China, the practice of eco-civilization is making progress day by day. China’s practice of rapid renewal in this area requires continuous progress in theoretical updating, so that the development of practice and theory are advanced at an accelerating synergetic pace.

Continue reading Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

China set to open world’s largest hybrid energy plant in 2023

The following article, originally published in CGTN on 1 October 2022, details an important renewable energy project that will combine the output from the Kela Solar Power Station in Sichuan with that of the nearby Lianghekou Hydropower Station. The Kela solar plant will send its electricity output to the hydropower plant, which is already connected to the national grid. In combination, the two will be able to mitigate the problems of fluctuation and intermittency associated with both photovoltaic and hydropower technology.

When it opens in 2023, this will be the world’s largest hybrid energy plant, and will make an important contribution to China’s historic goals of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.

A nice detail from the article is that the solar panels at the Kela plant are being elevated to a height of 1.8 meters in order to allow local herdsmen to continue to feed their cows and sheep in the area.

China is upgrading a major hydro power plant as part of the world’s largest hybrid energy project, generating electricity from hydro and photovoltaic powers.

Kela Solar Power Station will be built in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, close to Lianghekou Hydropower Station, located on the Yalong River, with generating capacity of 1 million kW. The solar panels will be installed on the mountains at an altitude of up to 4,600 meters, with extra 1 million kW in capacity. The project is expected to operate for 1,735 hours in a year with an average annual power capacity of 2 billion kilowatt-hours when completed in 2023.

China is ushering in clean energy practices as it aims to peak carbon emissions in 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Kela Station will help cut carbon dioxide emissions by over 1.6 million tonnes, an equivalent of burning 600,000 tonnes of coal, according to Qi Ningchun, chairman of the Yalong River Hydropower Development Co. Ltd., operator of the project.

Kela Station will be a complementary power source for the hydropower station as the two plants’ outputs change distinctively throughout the year.

Continue reading China set to open world’s largest hybrid energy plant in 2023

Xi stresses revitalization of northeast China

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently conducted an extensive inspection tour of Liaoning province. Situated in north-east China, Liaoning is one of China’s old industrial bases and borders the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). 

President Xi visited a revolutionary memorial, a river and lake management project, an enterprise and a residential community, meeting people from all walks of life. The party’s goal of realizing common prosperity was a major theme of his tour and the President stressed that no political consideration is higher than the people – so long as the party maintains its ties with the people, breathes the same air as the people, shares the same destiny, and stays connected to them, it can obtain the power to triumph over any difficulty.

He also noted that the local people had sacrificed a great deal for the liberation of north-east China and made massive contributions to the development of New China and the victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, adding that, “We will never allow our socialist country to change its nature. Nor will the people.”

Xi also laid stress on ecological conservation and green development, flood control and prevention, independent innovation, promoting self-reliance in science and technology and boosting the country’s grip on core technologies, and developing elderly care programs whilst also ensuring healthy growth of the younger generation. 

He told local residents that Chinese-style modernization means common prosperity for all, not just a few. “More efforts must be made so that the people feel the CPC serves the people wholeheartedly and is always with the people,” he stressed.

The below report was originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

President Xi Jinping has stressed greater sense of responsibility and endeavors in the revitalization of China’s northeast region in the new era.

During his inspection tour in Liaoning Province from Tuesday to Wednesday, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for breaking new ground in the revitalization and development of the northeastern province.

Xi called for coordinating the COVID-19 response with economic and social development, balancing development and security imperatives, fully and faithfully implementing the new development philosophy, and firmly promoting high-quality development.

Efforts should be made to promote common prosperity for all, advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance, and deepen the Party’s full and rigorous self-governance, to set the stage for the 20th National Congress of the CPC, said Xi.

During the inspection, Xi went to the cities of Jinzhou and Shenyang, where he visited several places, including a revolutionary memorial, a river and lake management project, an enterprise, and a community.

Continue reading Xi stresses revitalization of northeast China

Video: Changes since 2012 impact China and beyond

In the following short video, produced by China Daily, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez discusses the extraordinary changes that have taken place in China over the last decade since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Carlos particularly emphasises the progress in poverty alleviation, environmental protection, foreign policy, and the pursuit of common prosperity.

Why China will stick to decarbonization and sustainable development

In this article, originally published on CGTN and coinciding with the Boao Forum on Asia, Keith Lamb addresses humanity’s looming climate catastrophe and how it is exacerbated by such factors as imperialism’s profit from war. In contrast, through cooperation with the Global South and by promoting global development alongside the sustainable preservation of humanity and the biosphere, China is pointing the way towards an ecological civilization. “China’s people-centred approach means markets and capital must stay subservient to society as a whole,” the author notes.

The annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which brings together Asia-Pacific businesses and governments to promote economic and social development, is upon us. One of the pressing matters for this year’s forum is the climate catastrophe.

Plenty of discussion and even more action is needed if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this goal, as set out by the Paris Climate Agreement, global carbon emissions need to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030, from 2010 levels, and net-zero emissions must be reached by 2050. The agreement also requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their nationally determined contributions.

Unfortunately, as reported in the UN’s The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, despite a slight downtrend in carbon emissions, due to COVID-19, by December 2020, emissions fully rebounded. Indeed, carbon emissions were 2 percent higher than in December 2019, leading the report to say “the climate crisis continues largely unabated.”

Continue reading Why China will stick to decarbonization and sustainable development

Changes since 2012 impact China and beyond

The following China Daily op-ed, written by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, reflects on the last decade of dramatic change in China, particularly in relation to poverty alleviation, environmental protection, foreign policy, and the pursuit of common prosperity.

In the past decade, the People’s Republic of China has grown enormously in economic strength and global stature.

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, put forward the “two centenary goals”. The goals mean building a moderately well-off society in all respects by 2020, just before the centenary year of the CPC in 2021, and a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by the middle of this century, while the People’s Republic’s 100th anniversary is 2049.

The Party and the leadership mobilized tens of millions of people to achieve the first goal, the key component of which was the eradication of extreme poverty, which was achieved in 2020.

At the start of the targeted poverty alleviation program in 2013, a little less than 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line. Seven years later, the figure was zero. As Xi said, “thanks to the sustained efforts of the Chinese people from generation to generation, those who once lived in poverty no longer have to worry about food or clothing or access to education, housing and medical insurance”.

Continue reading Changes since 2012 impact China and beyond