Inflation is rising sharply, energy prices even more, and governments across the globe are now scrambling to increase fossil fuel production. But you wouldn’t know that from the energy provisions in the pending reconciliation bill, or the rhetoric about this week’s United Nations climate conference in Glasgow. The Biden Democrats and Europe’s liberal governments are in denial, which is good news for China’s authoritarians, but bad news for middle-class Americans.
Prices for natural gas in the United States are at highs not seen since President Joe Biden was vice president. Ditto for the painful prices Americans now face at the pump. The Energy Department just warned consumers that energy costs will give them sticker shock this winter, and Biden recently begged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’s oil sheiks and oligarchs to increase oil production. They declined.
Higher energy prices ripple through the economy – it was cited as part of Dollar Tree’s recent decision to sell more products for more than a dollar. Inflation is the highest it has been in more than 30 years, and is rising faster than wage growth. After accounting for inflation, real average hourly earnings are down almost 2 percent since Biden took office. That means even as the paycheck amount has grown, a family earning $50,000 annually has lost almost $1,000 in buying power since Inauguration Day.
This has occurred in the midst of the Biden Democrats’ war on fossil fuels. Among the president’s first acts was to cancel the U.S.-Canada Keystone XL pipeline. Next, the president suspended new oil and gas permitting on federal lands and waters as he seeks, in Reuters’ words, “to permanently ban new drilling on federal acreage.” Now, the pending reconciliation bill includes new taxes on fossil fuels and new penalties on utilities that generate electricity with fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, the UN climate event, branded as “COP26,” begins on Halloween – perfect timing to scare children further about climate goblins. There, Western leaders will speechify about the “burning planet,” echoing my colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who infamously claimed in January 2019 that “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”
Why Cutting Emissions Is Suicidal
Global carbon emissions will rise this year by the second-highest annual amount in history despite the West’s anti-fossil fuel policies, because the rest of the world cares more about their citizens’ prosperity and jobs than in appeasing the Climate Industrial Complex.
That’s what Biden meant when he surprisingly admitted at his State of the Union address that no matter what we do in America to reduce carbon emissions, “it’s not going to matter.” China, Russia, India, and others will overwhelm our emission reductions with their increases.
Fossil fuels (mostly coal) already generate 85 percent of China’s total energy supply, and that amount may soon rise further. China’s top state-owned energy companies were recently ordered “to increase coal supplies by all means,” and China’s premier just declared that China’s “domestic oil and gas exploration will be intensified.”
Biden’s confession notwithstanding, the Democrats’ reconciliation plan includes more than half a trillion dollars for the “climate crisis.” This includes massive new subsidies for pricey electric vehicles and to utilities, other businesses, and homeowners that install costly solar or wind energy generators.
But the vast majority of solar panels installed across America are manufactured in China – using fossil fuels! America-based solar manufacturing has held just 10-20 percent of U.S. market share in recent years, and would have had even less without President Trump’s China tariffs, which are due to expire shortly. China is so dominant in the U.S. solar market, even the leading U.S. solar trade group opposes tariffs on Chinese solar products. The U.S. Department of Energy, meanwhile, reports “the U.S. wind industry remains reliant on imports.”
End Subsidies to China
We should be restoring U.S. manufacturing in energy and other critical infrastructure, not sending billions more of our tax dollars to China. I will soon introduce legislation to end U.S. subsidies for China-made solar and wind products. But Democrats, pushed by the Big Green lobbying groups, are resisting strong and non-waivable “buy American” provisions for their climate spending spree.
China’s strongman Xi Jinping may offer at COP26 bold commitments to decarbonize China’s economy decades from now, provided the West slashes its carbon output now. While Biden is on board with reductions, he might be lonely. Even Germany is cutting nearly in half surcharges Germans must pay utilities to replace fossil fuels with more expensive renewables.
Biden is weakening America’s economy and energy independence, while Xi is pushing forward with his fossil fuel-driven push for Chinese prosperity and dominance. Neither bodes well for the American middle class.