Recent Western media reports have underscored that China emits more greenhouse gas than all other developed nations combined, so naturally many are asking what's the point of the ongoing Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow if the world's number one polluter is not present.
Over 120 heads of state were present at the first day on Monday - when 'high level' opening speeches were given (and President Biden was caught snoozing) - but China's President Xi Jinping stayed home, and merely submitted a dry written statement published to the conference's website.
But on Tuesday China is saying that President Xi was never so much as offered an option of addressing world leaders via live video link. China's Foreign Ministry told reporters in a press briefing that Xi was never provided the option to attend virtually, apparently after it was sought as a possibility.
"As I understand it, the conference organizers did not provide the video link method," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
The UK government later confirmed this, with a spokesperson cited in Reuters saying that an intentioned lack of a virtual attendance option was meant to encourage coming in person. The COP26 conference only offered the possibility of a recorded address, such as the Pope gave, or the submission of a written statement.
his after Biden himself as well as US officials have taken swipes at both Beijing and Moscow for lack of participation by their top leaders...
"Russia and ... China basically didn’t show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate. And there’s a reason why people should be disappointed in that," Biden said Sunday just ahead of the conference. "I found it disappointing myself."
They are laughing at you. The 400 private jets used by world ‘leaders’ to get to #COP26 pumped out 13,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet they want you to stop eating meat, to stop going on holiday, to buy a new electric car, & to spend thousands of pounds on new boilers. pic.twitter.com/Phj1wpQvKJ— Matthew Firth (@MatthewPFirth) November 1, 2021
It appears that instead the UK and UN organizers wish to see an armada of hundreds of fuel-guzzling and gas emitting private jets descending on Glasgow airport.
For China's part, Xi's written statement urged all developed countries to "provide support to help developing countries do better" while issuing the usual platitudes about jointly tackling the "climate challenge" and speeding up green initiatives - but notably absent were any definitive pledges sought by the West.
Meanwhile, after on Monday falling asleep during opening speeches, President Biden took a departing shot at China during his final Tuesday presser before returning to Washington...
"It’s a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away. How do you do that and claim to be able to have any leadership mantle?" Biden told reporters of Xi's absence.
BREAKING: U.S. President Joe Biden just slammed China for “not showing up” at COP26 at his presser before departing the summit.— Jack Hazlewood (@JackHHazlewood) November 2, 2021
“It’s a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away. How do you do that and claim to be able to have any leadership mantle?” pic.twitter.com/NSWxmLeQ3J