President Xi Jinping recently told the UN General Assembly that China will aim for carbon neutrality by 2060 (how many of us will be alive then?) following the 2015 Paris pledge to hit peak emissions by 2030. Do we believe him?
How many times do we have to be dudded by communists before we get the message? Western greens are ecstatic, seeing China as a new leader in the battle to embarrass the US under the leadership of President Trump. The headlines proclaim:
“an unexpectedly forthright pledge to galvanize global action against the climate crisis”, “a significant step in the fight against climate change”, “an audacious bid to lead the world into a low carbon future”, and so on. The Guardian gushed that China “will give fresh impetus to UN efforts to galvanize action on the ‘climate crisis’”.
Will the communist Chinese do the right thing or will they emulate Lucy who pulled the football away from Charlie Brown every year, even after she said that this year she will hold it steady?
Lucy herself has offered a myriad of justifications over the years for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: physiological (1966: a “ten-billion-to-one” muscle spasm), Ecclesiastical (1980: “To everything there is a season … and a time to pull away the football”), psychological (1975: “I’m not your mother, Charlie Brown”), sociological (1971: “This year’s football was pulled away from you through the courtesy of women’s lib”), and philosophical (1974: “In every program, Charlie Brown, there are always a few last-minute changes”). In a meta-moment, Lucy even points to the larger meaning of this annual act: “Symbolism, Charlie Brown! The ball! The desire! The triumph! It’s all there!” (1996). This echoes a dialogue they had 10 years earlier (Charlie Brown: “Somehow, I’ve missed the symbolism.” Lucy: “You also missed the ball, Charlie Brown”).