This year’s Winter Olympics, usually a time of international cooperation and friendly competition, was tainted by tensions unfolding between communist China and the Western world. The ambiance was eerily reminiscent of the Cold War, with diplomatic boycotts, questionable disqualifications, and now anti-China legislation flying.
Recognizing the growing threat of dependence on China for everything from medicines to funding our budget deficits, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a 2,900-page bill dubbed the “America COMPETES Act of 2022,” intended to give the United States an economic upper hand over China, especially when it comes to technology and manufacturing.
The problem? The China bill will make the United States more dependent on the Red Dragon—not less—especially when it comes to energy.
The COMPETES Act is loaded with “green bling”—expensive, ineffective slush funds paid for by our tax dollars to appease the progressive climate wing. With line items to fund solar panels, “bolster climate diplomacy,” and dump $8 billion into the United Nations Green Climate Fund, the bill proposes spending billions on unnecessary programs that won’t affect our trade relationship with China or improve our competitiveness.
All this will accomplish is raising the price we have to pay for energy—a necessary component of every industry and every aspect of our lives—and make that energy less reliable.
With the growing energy crisis unfolding in Europe and Asia, no end in sight for inflation, and out-of-control gas prices in the United States, now isn’t the time (if there ever is one) to allow the unscientific climate alarmist narrative to supersede the American people’s futures.
Those advocating for funding decarbonization programs and renewable energy fail to realize that the renewable energy agenda necessitates dependence on China. Because while the wind and the sun may be free forever, the quantity of raw materials required to harness their energy—and especially to store it for times the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining—is mind-boggling.
Building a single wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 45 tons of plastic, and 2,500 tons of concrete along with a hefty portion of minerals mined almost exclusively in China, where reckless mining operations mercilessly destroy the environment and threaten human lives, or in countries such as the Congo, where children as young as 4 work in cobalt mines.
After all that mining, the turbine can only be expected to last 20 to 25 years (generously assuming prime operating conditions), and most of it can’t be recycled.
Given the enormous number of turbines and solar panels that would theoretically be required in order to go 100 percent renewable—not to mention the vast wildlife destruction to build a massive network of transmission lines—the scale of both environmental impact and trade dependence on China is difficult to comprehend.
The United States should strive to be stronger and more competitive economically, especially given the potential danger from dependence on an unstable, authoritarian communist nation. While implementing policies to support domestic manufacturing is a worthy goal, the COMPETES Act does it wrong. Rather than dumping billions of our hard-earned tax dollars into an extravagant amalgam of government programs, many of which have little to do with the bill’s purpose, a far better option to strengthen America’s economy and national security would be to reverse the ill-advised energy policies of the Biden administration.
Many of us don’t realize the massive role energy plays in every sector of our economy—which means it impacts every part of our day-to-day lives. Blinded by our comfortable, fossil fuel-powered lives, with lights and heat that almost never fail and smartphones that charge in a few minutes, we forget just how critical energy is to our physical and national security. We can’t eat, wear, buy, sell, or learn anything without energy—and any policy that weakens our access to energy threatens not only our individual quality of life, but also our nation’s role in the global balance of power.
Allowing responsible U.S. energy businesses to thrive means we can make more of the fuel we need right here at home—lowering our cost of living, creating good-paying jobs, and freeing the United States from dependence on unstable nations for the energy we need. The best way to make America more competitive with China and the rest of the world is to unleash the power of responsible domestic energy producers to liberate us from dependence on unstable nations for the energy and other goods we need.
We briefly enjoyed the blessing of energy dominance during the Trump administration—with America’s robust energy industry saving the average household an estimated $2,500 a year (pdf)—but that progress is in jeopardy if President Joe Biden and his bureaucrats continue their senseless war on fossil fuels.
We can have economic independence and export our values of freedom around the world with a strong energy industry—not with more green slush funds.
This commentary originally appeared in The Epoch Times on February 16, 2022.