China's president Xi Jinping, whose country is responsible for more than a quarter of global carbon emissions, is eager to work with the world to fight climate change, a congressional witness described by Democrats as a "superstar" said on Wednesday.
During a Senate Budget Committee climate hearing, former Goldman Sachs partner Robert Litterman said he believed China was willing to act "in the global best interest" on climate change.
"I think that President Xi understands that we have to work together to address this global problem, yes I do," said Litterman, who was invited to testify at the hearing by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.). "It is in China's best interest to work with the rest of the world to address this problem."
Litterman's praise for Xi flies in the face of the Chinese leader's recent rhetoric on green energy. Last year, Xi promised to prioritize "energy security, industrial supply chain security, and food security" over the fight against climate change, which he said should not threaten "normal life." China—which emits more carbon per year than the entire developed world combined—has also failed to honor its pledge to ditch coal-fired power in favor of green energy, particularly as the communist nation faces energy shortages. Still, Whitehouse has called Litterman a climate "superstar."
Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.), whose questions about China led to Litterman's remark, mocked the witness for his faith in Xi.
"Do you believe in the tooth fairy? Do you believe in the Easter bunny? Do you believe that Jimmy Hoffa died of natural causes?" Kennedy asked.