Climate Diplomacy, China’s Art of Deception
The Road to Depression Lies in a Decarbonized Society [Part 1]


Until now, China has been pursuing aggressive hegemonic policies from the perspective of its military and diplomacy — and yet, the Chinese government is strangely cooperative with regard to the issue of global warming. The Liberty spoke with an expert regarding China’s real intentions.


Canon Institute for Global Studies, Research Director

Taishi Sugiyama

Taishi Sugiyama was born in Hokkaido, Japan. After graduating from the Department of Physics at the University of Tokyo, he received a master’s degree from the University’s Graduate School of Engineering. He joined the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) and later served as an executive committee member of the International Science Council (ISC), as well as a member of the Kyoto Protocol Council. After working as a senior researcher at the Central Research Institute, he has been holding his current title since 2017.

Mr. Sugiyama: China has declared that it will reduce carbon emissions to virtually zero by 2060, but China has no intent to achieve this target. Meanwhile, developed countries have also set the bars quite high so they’re not able to criticize China.

China believes that even if that target is not achieved, its strategic purpose will be met. If we consider the use of ‘global warming’ as the main weapon of unrestricted warfare, China’s intent behind its climate diplomacy will become clear.


China’s Purpose Is to Force Concessions Over Land and Human Rights

Mr. Sugiyama: China’s first aim is to show an attitude of concession over global warming in order to gain leverage in negotiations related to human rights and territorial issues. This is a common diplomatic practice called issue linkage, and it prevents the other party from taking an aggressive attitude toward other diplomatic issues in negotiations by cooperating in one issue area that they want to solve.

President Obama, toward the end of his term, was obsessed with making the Paris Agreement his political achievement. There was also a shared international consensus at the time that the world’s two largest CO2-emitting countries that didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. and China, must take part.

To achieve that, the Obama administration listened to whatever China said. A typical example is the effective control over the Spratly Islands. From 2014 to 2015, just before the Paris Agreement was established, China forced rapid, large-scale land reclamations at seven locations including Mischief Reef and Johnson South Reef. In addition to building military facilities, China placed infrastructure such as runways and radar facilities.

China claimed that these land reclamations weren’t military operations, but that was an obvious lie. Nonetheless, the Obama administration repeatedly took an unclear stance and allowed China’s domineering manner. It is no exaggeration to say that the U.S. sold out the Spratly Islands to establish the Paris Agreement.

China is once again aiming for the exact same thing. Even in terms of the Biden administration’s personnel affairs, there is no doubt that the new administration is ‘Obama again.’ In particular, the current U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, who served as the Secretary of State during the Obama era, seems to put environmental issues above everything else.

I presume that there will be a high risk that human rights issues in areas like Hong Kong and military invasions will escalate around April’s climate summit that will be held in the U.S. or November’s COP 26.


From China’s Perspective, Environmentalists Are ‘Useful Idiots’

Mr. Sugiyama: Their second intent is to weaken developed countries like Europe, the U.S. and Japan. The goals set by countries around the world, including China, toward carbon neutrality are primarily economically self-destructive, technically impossible and scientifically nonsense.

Still, there are people who think that China shares the same pain. However, many developed countries set a zero-carbon deadline of 50 years, while China’s deadline is 60 years. This 10 year-difference is quite large. The plan will be such that developed countries will go bankrupt, and China will criticize the target and lower its threshold.

Moreover, if developed countries reject environmental targets, it will most likely raise voices of protests from environmental groups.

Many environmentalists fundamentally oppose capitalism and liberalism, so they slam companies operating in developed countries. From China’s perspective, they are no better puppets.

As Lenin used the phrase ‘useful idiots,’ environmentalists are extremely convenient forces to advance communism.


Divide America With CO2

Mr. Sugiyama: China’s third aim is to divide America. Global warming has turned into an ideology for the liberals who speak loudly about environmental issues. They’re not able to have a calm discussion supported by objective data.

On the other hand, the conservatives have a dry perspective of the issue of global warming because China is trying to lower America’s national power by provoking environmental concerns and deepening America’s divide.

Japan must be firmly aware that China’s cunning diplomatic strategy is steadily underway. Don’t be fooled by them into taking the wrong diplomatic approach.

Climate Diplomacy, China’s Art of Deception
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