Joe Biden's Climate and Energy Plan Is a Gift for China
If there were any doubt before the coronavirus pandemic, there’s little now: China is not America’s ally; it’s not a “strategic competitor;” and it’s not an adversary. Simply put, China is an enemy. The Covid-19 outbreak, and resultant shutdown of the global supply chain, exposed the unsettling fact that America is dependent on China for many essential materials. America must deploy a practical strategy, not prioritize the eco-left’s political agenda, to eliminate the economic, health and national security risks that come with this dependence.
In the wake of the pandemic, America’s reliance on China for medical supplies has been well documented. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) made the potential consequences of this reliance very clear in a March report. CRS wrote that China’s role as a global supplier of various medical equipment “means reduced production or exports from China could lead to shortages and increased costs of critical medical supplies in the United States.”
Early in the outbreak, the Trump Administration speculated publicly about holding China accountable for the global spread of Covid-19 and accused them of an “intentional disinformation campaign.” Shortly after these comments, China’s official Xinhua News Agency stated that if China stopped medical exports, “the United States would sink into the hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic.” America cannot allow China this type of leverage, especially considering their readiness to use it at our expense.
Unfortunately, China’s materials dominance extends beyond the coronavirus. In a new study my group Power The Future documents China’s virtual monopoly of rare earth elements (REEs) – integral components of more than 200 products across a wide range of industries especially “green energy” technology like wind turbines and solar panels. The communist nation control 95% of these elements, so let’s connect the dots: American leadership pushes a “green” agenda and American power transitions from domestic fossils to Chinese technology. Just as they did during the Covid crisis, China will gladly, aggressively exploit this position.
Last year, China’s rare earth producers explicitly stated their willingness to use China’s dominance of the industry as a weapon in the trade war against America. They’ve done more than just threaten their adversaries, too. In 2010, after a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese coast guard ship near disputed islands, China dramatically reduced REE exports to Japan. Afterward, Japan was forced to fund ventures internationally, as well as invest in research and development domestically, to diversify its supply.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called China’s action toward Japan a “wake-up call.” Yet, despite America importing 80% of its REE supply from China at the time, the Obama Administration did nothing to diversify our resources. Regarding the same issue, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) stated that he was troubled “that the world’s reliance on Chinese rare earth materials, in combination with China’s apparent willingness to use this reliance for leverage in wider international affairs, poses a potential threat to American economic and national security interests.” Yet, today, Markey and his activist allies seem to care little about China’s dominance over what they hold dear: an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.
Last year, the Trump Administration released a strategy to promote critical minerals development in the U.S. The plan is sensible and intended to break America’s dependence on China for REEs. Yet, sadly, the eco-left would rather allow America’s current vulnerability to China than support President Trump. The radical Sierra Club attacked the strategy as “dangerous” because, they claim, it comes “at the cost of some of our most important landscapes.”
In the past few years America has liberated our energy out from under OPEC, the Saudis, and the Russians. As the world’s number one producer of oil and gas, we are not threatened by Iranian actions in the Straits of Hormuz or Islamic terrorism in the Gulf Region. This is what “energy independence” means. I call it “energy dominance”. The left used to call it “no blood for oil”. The reality is the same: America free from international unrest as she powers herself with domestic, abundant, inexpensive energy.
Are we about to resume a position of subjugation only transposing OPEC for China? Are we going to, in the name of “climate change” or “saving the planet” put energy, the very lifeblood of our economy and existence, into the hands of communists?
Biden claims we have nine years to fix climate change and promises a green future to save us. In reality green energy markets are owned and dominated by China, and if we “go green” we will go red. With our electric grid, our cars, our very power controlled by Xi Jinping it will be impossible for America to be energy independent again.
Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF