Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry heaped praise upon the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) green energy initiatives Monday, failing to acknowledge allegations that the CCP utilizes slave labor in production of certain green energy technologies, according to The Washington Post.
Kerry said that the CCP is doing an “incredible job” with its green energy initiatives, including solar panel manufacturing, during his visit to Beijing, according to The Washington Post. Beyond allegations of Uyghur slave labor use in solar panel manufacturing, the CCP uses child labor in mines essential to the green energy supply chain and oversees an economy which emitted almost twice as much carbon dioxide as the U.S. in 2021, according to Investopedia data.
Beyond allegations of using Uyghur slave labor, the CCP also is known to extract key minerals used to produce green technologies from mines in countries like the Democratic Republic the of Congo that use child labor. Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced legislation in late June that would stem the importation of products that use minerals extracted from Congolese mines using child labor and counter Chinese dominance of the global supply for the minerals.
In his comments praising the CCP, Kerry also urged Chinese leadership to cease construction of coal-fired power plants, according to The Washington Post. The CCP issued more permits last year for domestic coal-fired plant construction than it did in the past seven years, and the coal-fired power capacity under construction in China was six times larger than the rest of the world combined, according to a 2022 report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air. (RELATED: The Biden Admin Is Sending One Of Its Biggest China Apologists To Negotiate With Beijing)
“In the next three days, we hope we can begin taking some big steps that will send a signal to the world about the serious purpose of China and the United States to address a common risk, threat, challenge to all of humanity created by humans themselves,” Kerry said Monday, according to The Washington Post.
Kerry has made an effort to separate concerns about green energy and climate change from those relating to human rights, according to The Washington Post.
“Between June 2022 and January 2023, 2,692 shipments were identified as potentially violating the terms of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” a spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) said, according to a January 2023 article by FOX Business. Nearly half of those imports were solar panels or related components, according to FOX Business, making them the most commonly flagged.
In a September 2021 interview, Kerry stated that “life is full of tough choices” in response to a question about the trade-offs between green energy adoption and human rights as it applies to Uyghur slave labor and solar panels. Kerry claimed to have forgotten the statement when pressed on the topic at a July House Oversight and Accountability hearing examining the State Department’s climate budget and Kerry’s role.