Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) tells a Washington press conference that ratification of the Salt II treaty is vital to American security, on October 9, 1979. (AP Photo/ Charles Harrity)
In October 2007, when he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination for the second time (as we know, the third time’s the charm), the Delawarean found himself in a debate with other hopefuls, including former Rep. Bill Richardson. Since Richardson was well known as a diplomat, Biden was eager to demonstrate his own diplomatic chops, and so he declared, “And with regard to my experience, hey, Bill, in 1979 I was–I led a delegation of 19 senators negotiating the [SALT II] agreement with Brezhnev.”
Then, surveying his fellow world leaders gathered together onscreen—including Xi Jinping of China—he added, “I’m confident that we are going to get this done together.”
President Joe Biden speaks with China’s Xi Jinping and other world leaders at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021.
Biden then pledged to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by between 50 and 52 percent by 2030—as in, a mere nine years from now—compared with 2005 levels. As the Washington Post described it, Biden’s pledge is “significantly more aggressive than the target set by President Barack Obama six years ago.”
So while the U.S. is pledging to do all that—with all the dislocations and impoverishments sure to come—what are the Chinese pledging to do?
Before we come to their pledge, let’s consider some baseline data: Today, China accounts for 28 percent of all planetary CO2 emissions, while the U.S. accounts for just 15 percent. So one might think that in a fair negotiation, the Chinese would have agreed to substantial reductions.
And yet in point of fact, the Chinese have been busy increasing their CO2 output by burning ever more coal. As Global Energy Monitor reported in February:
China now has 247 GW [gigawatt, or one billion watts] of coal power under development (88.1 GW under construction and 158.7 GW proposed for construction) – a 21% increase over end-2019 (205 GW), and nearly six times Germanyʼs entire coal-fired capacity (42.5 GW).
So with those numbers in mind, let’s take at look at the Chinese commitment, as reported by the Washington Post:
China’s Xi Jinping, the first national leader to speak at Thursday’s summit, reiterated the nation’s pledge to “strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.” On coal consumption, Xi said China might “phase it down” during its 15th Five Year Plan, which runs from 2025 through 2030.
We might step carefully over some of those words, because they are slippery. Xi said that China will “strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.” We can note that “peak” suggests that emissions will continue to rise between now and then. Moreover, the phrase “strive to,” doesn’t exactly connote a rock-solid commitment. Nor does the verb “might,” as in, the Chinese might “phase down” coal later in this decade.
Moreover, if we think back on the Beijing regime’s mendacity on other issues—including, but hardly limited to, the treatment of minorities and dissidents from Tibet to Xinjiang to Hong Kong—then it should come as no surprise that this agreement, too, is likely to have no effect on Chinese behavior.
So we can see the danger: If the U.S were to abide by Biden’s CO2 restrictions, our economy would be damaged, and perhaps crippled, while the Chinese are still building coal plants.
Smoke billows from stacks as a Chinese woman wears as mask while walking in a neighborhood next to a coal fired power plant on November 26, 2015, in Shanxi, China. A history of heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Yet in the meantime, Biden is basking in praise from the Main Stream Media; typical is this trilling headline from CNN: “Biden’s remarkable success on climate.” With plaudits such as that, why would Biden pour rain on his own parade by allowing that the Chinese haven’t committed to doing much of anything–except to keep going in the wrong direction? (We can also add that Russia accounts for some five percent of global CO2 emissions, and its leader, Vladimir Putin, promised little.)
So now we come back to that familiar and perverse dynamic of Big Diplomacy: our foreign-policy elite has become so invested in the process, and the agreement, that it becomes blind to evidence that it is being hoodwinked. That is, the diplomatic process must be preserved, even at the expense of the American national interest. (In the meantime, green groups, powerful in the U.S. but outlawed in China, will be policing adherence here while likely downplaying China.)
And so in 2021, in our dealings with China, we find ourselves in a situation akin to that of 1979. Back then, Big Diplomacy, enraptured by champagne chats with the Russians in palatial settings, actively lobbied on behalf of a bad deal for Uncle Sam.
Yet this time around, SALT II supporter Joe Biden isn’t in the U.S. Senate; rather, he’s in the White House, pushing yet another giveaway agreement, this time on climate.
Still, it remains to be seen how much effect Biden’s deal will have on the U.S. Why? Because the April 22 commitments in and of themselves have little legal force. To be sure, the 46th president can give marching orders to his own administration, and he is indeed doing that; sample headline from the New York Times: “Biden’s Intelligence Director Vows to Put Climate at ‘Center’ of Foreign Policy.”
So we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of Biden departments and agencies to write regulations—and even outright prohibitions—by executive fiat. In fact, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) is already accusing the Bidenites of climate “dictatorship.”
Yet unlike SALT II, the agreement Biden has just reached is not a treaty, and so he won’t be sending a document to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. (He realizes that he could never get the two-thirds vote it would need to go into effect).
And yet because Biden’s April 22 deal is not a treaty, it has no force beyond the Biden administration. To put that another way, Congress, which is not formally involved in any of the April 22 happenings, could vote to undo any and all of it.
To be sure, just about every Democrat in Congress supports what Biden is doing, and so if opponents wish to see change, well, they’ll have to engage in the hard work of freedom: they’ll have to win elections and thereby change the Senate and the House.
So that’s an encouraging thought. What we have here is a Biden deal, not a Congressional deal—and thus it’s not officially an American deal. The Congress is, after all, the first branch of government; it’s Congress that funds and oversees the Executive Branch. And so if opposition Republicans do well in the 2022 midterms, much of what Biden has done can be undone.
And then, of course, we have the 2024 elections; this balloting will include a judgment on the Biden presidency.
We can recall that Jimmy Carter’s actions on SALT II were a part of his record when he sought a second term in 1980, and as we have seen, he and SALT were thunderously rejected.
And so now today, opponents of Biden’s new deal—his one-sided deal with Xi, which is all gain for the Chinese, all pain for America, and all for nothing, climate-wise—must start making their case and preparing for the election in three years.
To be sure, the April 22 climate deal is not the only argument against Biden, and some of those arguments include eerie parallels to the 1970s. Here at Breitbart News, past articles have compared Biden’s economic policies, as well as his energy policies, to those of Carter.
Without a doubt, the Carter-Biden parallels are starting to add up.
And we know what happened to Carter.
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