Mike Pompeo Calls Joe Biden Climate Target 'Enormous Gift to China'

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that President Joe Biden had handed an "enormous gift" to China by pledging to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions as soon as 2030.

In an interview on Fox News, the ex-Trump administration official said the pledge was a "real threat" to the U.S., and criticized the White House for failing to extract a similar promise from Beijing.

He also said anyone who believed China would follow through on its promise to reduce its use of coal from 2026 had not been watching its crackdowns in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang province.

"The decision for the United States to enter the Paris Climate Accord, and the announcement that the president made today is an enormous gift to the Chinese Communist Party, and a real threat to the United States of America," said Pompeo.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media with members of the Republican Study Committee about Iran on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. On Thursday, he criticized President Joe Biden's pledge to halve U.S. carbon emissions as soon as 2030. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

"If you think that the Chinese Communist Party has any intention of delivering on any commitment it's made, you just haven't been watching," he added. "You haven't been watching Hong Kong. You haven't been watching Xinjiang."

Pompeo was referring to Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral rules and its reported human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.

He later said: "For the Biden administration to think they achieved a victory today because China made some in-the-air, misty-eyed, good wonderful feeling summit commitment is being played for a patsy."

The former secretary of state criticized President Biden shortly after he announced that the U.S. planned to cut carbon emissions down from 2005 levels by 50 to 52 percent by the end of the decade.

"Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade," Biden said at the virtual world leaders climate summit on Thursday. "This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis."

The world leader's summit hosted by video link was attended by the heads of several leading economies—including China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. The U.K. and EU also reiterated promises to slash emissions by more than half over the next decade.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not make a big pledge to cut emissions, only promising to gradually begin phasing out the country's use of coal. The world's largest polluter also did not announce any plans to cut its emissions to net zero any earlier than 2060—around a decade after other developed countries.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration would have "follow-up conversations" about the Chinese president's remarks at the summit.

"There's no question that China has an important role to play in working with the global community to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address our climate crisis," she said. "That was the case when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed five years ago and continues to be the case today."