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US must do some self-introspection at Rome Summit

By Chen Weihua | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-29 08:14
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Workers clean in front of the Rome Convention Centre 'La Nuvola', in the city's EUR district, that will host the G20 summit with heads of state from major nations for a two-day meeting from October 30-31, in Rome, Italy, Oct 22, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The G20 Summit to be held in Rome this weekend faces the daunting task of tackling unprecedented challenges, from climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic to global governance and economic recovery, in an increasingly divided world.

As a global forum of major economies, the G20 is more representative of the global reality and far more inclusive than the G7, which is a small group of so-called industrialized countries.

US President Joe Biden will attend the meeting without getting the Congress' approval for his massive spending bill that includes the much-needed funds to fight climate change and transition to clean energy. In the US' fight against climate change, what goes almost unnoticed is the high percentage of climate deniers in the country. The fact that previous US president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the Paris Agreement keeps haunting the world given the huge support he still enjoys among the Republicans.

According to the World Economic Forum last year, while more than half of the global respondents said they trusted climate science, those who said they trusted "a great deal" or "a lot" added up to 86 percent in India, 69 percent in China, 53 percent in the United Kingdom, but only 45 percent in the US.

China has often been singled out as the world's largest carbon emitter, yet the US' per capita emissions are twice as much as China's. We should not compare the total emissions of China and the US, just like we must not compare the total emissions of the US and Canada, because the latter's population is much smaller than of the US'.

Despite the challenges, China has pledged to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, with the latter process taking only 30 years to complete, much less than the time the US or the European Union will take to do so. Also, China is a leader in renewable energy, and its production capacity for wind, solar and nuclear energy and electric vehicles is by far the largest in the world.

While Biden is expected to deliver a passionate speech on climate change and global peace at the G20 Summit, he should realize the trade and tech wars the US has launched against China have undermined the global fight against climate change by seriously disrupting global supply chains.

Like its predecessor, the Biden administration has been trying to divide the world by continuing to push for economic decoupling with China, including in the semiconductor, artificial intelligence and 5G sectors. Instead of trying to build an inclusive world, Washington has been trying to force countries to choose sides between the US and China, something that most countries have refused to do.

Biden's "competition" or "stiff competition" with China has nothing to do with fair competition, but everything to do with sabotaging China's economic rise. That's probably why the Biden administration has shown no interest in resuming the dozens of bilateral dialogue and exchange mechanisms suspended by Trump. As vice-president in the Barack Obama administration, Biden had praised those mechanisms.

All these US policies have undermined cooperation between the world's two largest economies at a time when the world desperately needs such cooperation to tackle the many urgent issues it faces. In particular, Sino-US cooperation can help Afghanistan that is suffering from a serious humanitarian crisis thanks to almost 20 years of US-led war in the country, and the US' chaotic troop withdrawal and economic sanctions.

The US should also lift its embargo on Cuba, something that has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly year after year for about three decades, and which is an issue that deserves urgent attention at the G20 Summit in Rome.

In fact, many of the problems facing the world can be better tackled if the US, with its outsized economic, financial and military might, looks at itself in the mirror instead of lecturing the world on non-issues and blaming others for its ills.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

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