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Apologizing for America Shows ‘How Powerless He Is’

China’s state-run newspaper Global Times mocked President Joe Biden on Tuesday for eliciting “ridicule” by apologizing for America at the United Nations COP26 climate summit this week.

Biden told journalists he was sorry that, under his predecessor Donald Trump, the United States had abandoned the Paris Climate Accords. Trump withdrew on the grounds that it imposed onerous demands on the United States while providing for other large countries – most notably the world’s worst polluter, China – to increase greenhouse gas emissions for nearly a decade.

As of 2020, only one country, India, was keeping its Paris Agreement promises, according to a study by the international group Climate Transparency.

Biden has made few positive headlines during his COP26 stint, at one point even appearing to fall asleep during an event. He more recently used his platform to criticize the Chinese Communist Party for not sending dictator Xi Jinping to the event, arguing the move would cause China to lose influence on the world stage.

“I guess I shouldn’t apologize,” Biden told those assembled at the conference on Monday, “but I do apologize for the fact that the United States in the last administration pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit.”

“The United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of example. I know that hasn’t been the case and that’s why my administration is working overtime,” he added.

A column in the Global Times, typically one of China’s most belligerent government propaganda outlets, sarcastically called Biden’s apology “noble” and asserted that the remark proves the United States, and Biden in particular, are “powerless.”

“What a ‘noble’ apology, which made Biden seem like he cares about climate change, but also how hypocritical and powerless he is,” the column affirmed. “His apology does not make any sense, as he has no plan to fulfill his promises and no guarantee to make sure that his commitment won’t be toppled by the next administration.”

“Worse, he cannot even win enough support from his own party to get a green light for his plan,” the article continued, citing opposition to Biden’s trillion-dollar “infrastructure” plan from moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Citing a Communist Party-approved expert, the newspaper stated, “If the U.S. still has teeth, it will definitely not become that humble.”

The Global Times accused Biden of using a serious climate change conference for a cheap “slap in the face” to Trump, “bringing US political infighting to the global arena.”

“Quite a few netizens, including those from the US, claimed they cannot wait until 2024 when the Republican Party, or even Donald Trump himself, apologizes for Biden’s apology,” the outlet claimed.

Biden’s only hope, the article concluded conveniently, was lowering tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration.

The Global Times also mocked Biden’s “massive 85-car and gas-guzzling motorcade” at an event dedicated to reducing carbon emissions. As China did not have any in-person representation at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the Party could argue that it had failed to add to ongoing pollution caused by costly travel and lodging for world leaders.

While not present in Scotland, Xi did address the summit from Beijing, which is experiencing an uncontrolled outbreak of Chinese coronavirus, in a written statement. Xi applauded the Communist Party for supposedly ambitious climate goals that include “peaking” in emissions by 2030 – that is, continuing to increase air pollution for another decade – and reaching carbon neutrality in 40 years.

“Developed countries should also earnestly fulfill their commitments to providing funds for developing countries,” Xi demanded. China considers itself a developing nation despite having the world’s second-largest economy. He also made China’s frequent argument that nations that industrialized in the 1800s must pay for “historical” emissions and have more of a responsibility to combat climate change today than China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter.

Biden did not object to the content of Xi’s statement but criticized the dictator for not attending the conference.

“We showed up, and by showing up we’ve had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States in its leadership role,” Biden said on Tuesday. China, in contrast, “lost an ability to influence people around the world” and made a “big mistake” by not attending.

Last month, the Washington Post reported that John Kerry, Biden’s special climate official, urged the president to enact friendlier policies towards the Communist Party in an attempt to convince it to implement more pollution restrictions. Kerry made the request in the summer, according to the newspaper, after which Biden initiated a friendly call with Xi.

China, under its current communist system, is the world’s most egregious human rights violator, a reality that has severely impacted environmentalists in the country. China routinely discourages climate activism, arrests or disappears environmentalists, and limits public statements urging Beijing to cease its prolific coal plant construction, maritime pollution, and other detrimental activity.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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