President Joe Biden inherited an America that was a net energy exporter, something that had not been achieved even once in his 44 years in federal office. The GOP’s energy strategy was, quite simply, working. The results were not just lower energy prices and independence from unstable or adversarial countries; this also helped us lower carbon emissions.
As the International Energy Agency reported last year, the United States in 2019 led the world with the biggest one-year reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions, and since 2000 (our peak emissions year), we have had the greatest absolute drop in emissions reductions of any nation.
Democrats’ Plan to Cripple American Energy
Nevertheless, as part of his plan to spend $6 trillion more on leftists’ political wish lists, President Biden announced Democrats will seek to eliminate fossil fuel carbon emissions in our electricity generation by the year 2035 – a plan almost twice as extreme as former President Barack Obama’s 2015 climate plan.
This would mean eliminating the 60 percent of our current electricity that is generated by fossil fuels. (If Sen. Bernie Sanders were in charge, it would mean slashing 80 percent of our electricity generation: both the 60 percent from fossil fuels and the 20 percent from nuclear power.)
As they ban supply, Democrats are also busy increasing demand. Congressional Democrats have called for banning sales of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. There are currently almost 280 million passenger vehicles on U.S. roads, and these lawmakers want to replace the gas-powered majority of them with new ones plugged into our already strained electric grid.
The solution, we are told, will be a massive expansion of solar and wind power, which together account for only about 10 percent of our electricity generation today, even with steep taxpayer subsidies. (American taxpayers, for example, currently pay up to 26 percent of the sticker price for every new solar installation.)
Proponents of more unrealistic government mandates and bans, astronomical costs, and soaring energy prices insist they’re needed to “save the planet.” But even if Democrats’ war on Western carbon emissions succeeded, would the planet be saved, or even improved?
‘It’s Not Going to Matter’
President Biden answered this question in April. “The United States accounts, as all of you know, for less than 15 percent of carbon emissions. The rest of the world accounts for 85 percent,” he noted. “If we do everything perfectly, it’s not going to matter.”
That’s an extraordinary confession, and he’s right. Even if we give Democrats and their radical environmentalist allies everything on their wish list to fundamentally transform our economy, jack up energy prices, and destroy entire U.S. energy sectors and their jobs, it will not matter.
Why? Because “the rest of the world” – or more specifically, the few countries driving the vast bulk of carbon emissions – have no intention of voluntarily destroying their economies. Quite the contrary.
The world’s biggest polluter, China, is building new, coal-fired plants at a feverish clip, and expanding its use of natural gas. This will provide our adversary low-cost, reliable energy for decades to come, swamping U.S. climate efforts and further driving American manufacturing jobs to places like China that offer cheap energy and cheap labor.
China (which gets 86 percent of its energy consumption from coal, petroleum, and natural gas) is not alone. India (which gets 76 percent of its energy mix from fossil fuels, mostly coal) and Russia (which gets 87 percent from fossil fuels) are also increasing their emissions and have made it clear they will not sacrifice their economies or their citizens’ jobs in response to climate hysteria.
Democrats’ climate strategy, then, is unilateral economic disarmament to our adversaries in China and Russia. It would be a costly (forced) gift from 333 million Americans to the more than 3 billion people in China, Russia, India, and Brazil whose total emissions are still rising.
Last year, China built over three times as much new coal power capacity as the rest of the entire planet – that’s roughly one new, large coal plant every week. And their pace of permitting and launching new coal operations is increasing. China understands fossil fuels enable strong economic growth for its citizens and military.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, knows the Biden Democrats, the European Union, and the corporate American media have invested so much political capital in promoting climate panic that Xi holds all the cards. Even empty promises about something he says he will do in 2060 are touted as bold, dramatic game-changers.
Xi is sometimes mocked as resembling Winnie the Pooh, but his actions more resemble Popeye’s friend Wimpy in gladly promising to make greenhouse gas cuts tomorrow in exchange for America weakening its energy security today. (Russia’s Vladimir Putin, by contrast, barely even tries to fake interest in cutting emissions.)
The World, Powered by Slave Labor?
While China is the world’s number one coal importer, it is also working to dominate the solar industry. In fact, China has all but cornered the market in many sectors of solar manufacturing. This includes almost two-thirds of the world’s production capacity of key ingredient polysilicon, 80 percent of global solar cell manufacturing, and 99 percent of solar ingot and wafer manufacturing. Solar manufacturers in the United States, meanwhile, have captured less than 20 percent of the market in recent years.
Even more outrageous, China is perpetrating genocide against its Uyghur Muslim minority in the country’s Xinjiang region, where a new Horizon Advisory report suggests solar companies are collaborating with the Chinese Communist Party to take advantage of forced labor from government internment camps. The Biden administration’s weak response to this (banning imports from one solar company tied to forced labor allegations) will not substantially alter the facts on the ground. It very well may be that many of those solar panels Americans proudly install on their roofs are manufactured with forced labor from imprisoned Uyghurs.
China is also increasingly dominating the production of key wind energy components, though not as thoroughly. To meet Biden’s “green” mandates (which even Biden admitted are “not going to matter”), Americans will be coerced to purchase Chinese-made solar panels and wind energy components, manufactured not only with CO2-producing fossil fuels but likely also with forced labor. It’s a plan that would put even Rube Goldberg to shame.
As China’s dodgy response to COVID-19 and its origins reminds us, it is not wise for America to be dependent on other nations – especially adversaries – for our food, fuel, medicine, or defense needs. It’s time for patriots in both parties to come together to block Biden’s poorly conceived energy proposal.