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President Joe Biden’s climate czar was ripped by critics online after he appeared to dismiss a question regarding China’s use of slave labor to make solar panels during a press conference at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Video posted by RealClearPolitics shows Biden climate chief John Kerry being asked the question after both the U.S. and China announced a cooperative effort to address emissions, though China is the world’s No. 1 emitter and emissions fell during Donald Trump’s presidency even though oil, gas, and coal production rose.
“How in the several months of meetings behind the scenes with China did you bring up some of those very contentious issues such as the use-of-force labor in Xinjiang for building solar panels. How have you addressed it and how did you overcome that in reaching this?” a reporter asked Kerry.
“Well, we’re honest about the differences,” Kerry replied. “We certainly know what they are and we’ve articulated them but that’s not my lane here. My job is to be the climate guy and stay focused in trying to move the climate agenda forward.
“Our presidents made clear when they talked way back last February, I believe, that even while we have these differences, it was very important for us to focus on global crises,” Kerry said before going on to insist, “This is a climate crisis.”
“It’s, perhaps, one of the most compelling issues we face as a planet.”
A spokesperson for the State Department told Fox News early Thursday that Kerry, a 2004 Democratic presidential contender, long-serving U.S. senator, and Barack Obama’s secretary of state, has spent decades “standing up for human rights and defending democracy.”
“As Secretary Kerry has said from the start, the United States and China have mutual interests in solving the climate crisis while there’s still time, even when we fundamentally disagree on other critical issues,” the emailed statement read.
In August, the Biden administration blocked the importation of solar panels from at least a trio of Chinese manufacturers “reasonably indicating” they used forced labor, according to the Washington Post, which added that the U.S. “prohibits the import of goods made by coerced workers.”
China’s climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said he and Kerry would be working together moving forward to implement measures agreed to in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. Biden reimplemented them after Trump ended U.S. participation.
In October, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Kerry holds a $1 million stake “in a tech company blacklisted for human rights abuses,” and “is also a major shareholder in a solar panel company linked to labor abuses of the Uyghurs.”
“John Kerry appears to have profited from a company tied to egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Now it makes sense why he is actively working against my Uyghur Forced Labor Act,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said at the time. “But this is bigger than Kerry. A climate deal cannot make our nation complicit to the Chinese Communist Party’s slave labor practices.”
Kerry’s seemingly dismissive response at the COP26 summit drew a wave of criticism from social media users, including from the Republican National Committee.
After announcing joint “cooperation” with China on climate change, John Kerry chuckles when pressed on China’s use of slave labor to build solar panels:
“Not my lane” pic.twitter.com/e3NdUe6if9
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 11, 2021
John Kerry the Climate Guy.
— Ml (@Miraforyou) November 11, 2021
What is Kerry doing to ensure that human trafficking and slave labor are not being used?
— Shook 👀🇺🇸 o7 (@shookster1000) November 11, 2021
Human rights should be everybody’s lane. Do better.
— Jackie Treehorn (@JackieT78977215) November 11, 2021
The climate guy that flies around in private jets.
— SYKD (@saiddibinga) November 11, 2021
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