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US State Department: ‘The Chinese Communist Party are not Good Environmentalists’

TOPSHOT - A man wears a mask to protect himself from air pollution in Beijing on December 8, 2015. Half of Beijing's private cars were ordered off the streets on December 8 and many construction sites and schools were closed under the Chinese capital's first-ever red alert for pollution. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER / AFP / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Department of State released the following information to the US Media:

“China dumps millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans, overfishes other countries’ waters, destroys vast swaths of coral reef, and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world,” said President Donald J. Trump.

Addressing China’s Environmental Destruction

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases; the largest source of marine debris; the worst perpetrators of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and the world’s largest consumer of trafficked wildlife and timber products.  While the Chinese people have suffered the worst environmental impacts of its actions, Beijing also threatens the global economy and global health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its willful disregard for the environment through its One Belt One Road initiative.  Tragically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) represses civil society and a free press, slowing changes that would benefit its citizens and people all over the world.

The US State Department released the following information to the Press on Wednesday:

CHINA’S ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSES

Increasing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Chart Title: Annual fossil fuel CO2 emissions (Megatons), 2005-2019. Chart compares China and United States; X axis shows years from 2005-2019 and Y axis shows CO2 emissions (Megatons). The line for China increases and line for United States decreases over the time period. Data sourced from https://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

Despite claims of international environmental leadership, China’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rising.  It has been the world’s largest annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter since 2006.  China’s total energy-related emissions are twice that of the United States and nearly one third of all emissions globally.  Beijing’s energy-related emissions increased more than 80 percent between 2005-2019, while U.S. energy-related emissions have decreased by more than 15 percent.  In 2019 alone, China’s energy-related CO2 emissions increased more than 3 percent, while the United States’ decreased by 2 percent.  Beijing claims “developing-country” status to avoid shouldering more responsibility for reducing GHG emissions–though its per capita CO2 emissions have already reached the level of many high-income countries.  China’s increasing emissions counteract the progress of many other countries around the world to reduce global emissions.

“Too much of the Chinese Communist Party’s economy is built on willful disregard for air, land, and water quality. The Chinese people–and the world–deserve better,” said Mike Pompeo US State Department.

A Risk to the Ozone Layer

Through the Montreal Protocol, the nations of the world agreed to phase out production of substances that damage the ozone layer.  But scientists identified an increase of emissions of the phased-out, ozone-depleting substance CFC-11 from Eastern China from 2014 to 2017.  The United States leads the international response and continues to push China to live up to its obligations and increase its monitoring and enforcement efforts.

Threatening Air Quality

In 2008, U.S. diplomats installed air quality monitors on top of U.S. Embassy Beijing.  The United States shared the data publicly and revealed what local residents already knew: Beijing’s air quality was dangerously worse than the Chinese government was willing to admit.  That small act of transparency helped catalyze a revolution in air quality management, and Beijing has since made air quality a priority, including establishing new ambient air quality standards.  Despite significant improvements in large cities, the overall level of air pollution in China remains unhealthy, and air pollution from China continues to affect downwind countries.

The Department of State works to mitigate the global threat of air pollution through diplomacy, policy leadership, and targeted foreign assistance to advance U.S. objectives and incorporate innovative technologies into diplomatic and development programs while shaping markets to support U.S. exports. The United States will continue to advance U.S. interests globally through existing international agreements on air quality, including the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) and shape efforts on air quality in the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).  Further, the United States will expand our work to build capacity to improve air quality management and shape markets for U.S. technology through the Air Quality Program, which currently manages twelve large air quality grants with a combined budget of $6.6 million.

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