The politics and contentious nature of this year’s presidential election has distracted from a lot of the policies that will have real, substantive effects on our lives. Discussion around quarantine measures and social injustice have consumed the news cycle, taking the spotlight from economic plans and foreign policy. But, perhaps the most overlooked, impactful, and radical issue is President-elect Joe Biden’s energy platform.
We are all well aware of his inconsistencies on the campaign trail when it comes to fracking. During one of the Democratic presidential debates, Biden was very clear in stating that he “would make sure it’s [fracking] eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those [fracking and coal] either…” His campaign later back peddled, stating that Biden does not support a nationwide fracking ban but still wants to stop all oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
The economic consequences of this plan are clear – a recent study found that it would “cost almost 200,000 jobs, deny the U.S. government billions of revenue dollars, and push offshore production to other countries.” These are jobs, revenue and business that Americans need more than ever as we continue our recovery from COVID-19. Sadly, though, the implications of Biden’s energy plan go well beyond the economy.
In a recent study, Power The Future (PTF) demonstrated the geopolitical dangers of Biden’s ultimate goal – transition the U.S. economy to one that’s driven by wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. Under President Trump, America achieved energy independence for the first time by tapping into our own abundant natural resources. Not only is Biden putting that advantage at risk, but he is handing our greatest adversary significant leverage in the process.
Biden’s goal of being carbon emission-free by 2035 would mean a dramatic shift toward wind and solar, creating immense battery storage capacity and moving to electric vehicles. Obviously, this will all require significant manufacturing of green technology – much of which China controls. A previous PTF study examined the consequences of China’s control over the processing and mining of rare earth materials, which are essential to the majority of green tech.
Simply put, we cannot allow China to control our access to what would become critical resources under Biden’s energy plan. A complete dependence on China for these materials, as well as their looming ability to cut off our supply of rare earth materials at any time, is a major national security risk. It is likely that China will flood the market with cheap green tech only to then strategically ration and regulate the products once they’ve established dependency.
We already experienced the consequences of relying on China for medical supplies in the wake of COVID-19. Biden’s proposed energy plan does not take that lesson into account, and China is now preparing to monopolize the manufacturing of green technology. Sadly, they aren’t the only ones preparing for that shift. Wall Street has made clear that it expects a significant shift to renewables.
In the third quarter, investments in sustainable funds saw a 14% increase from the previous quarter. At the end of September, sustainable funds had $1.26 trillion in assets – that’s a 19% increase from the second quarter. It’s bad enough that we can expect a radical shift toward green energy that ignores all economic and national security concerns, but now Wall Street is helping speed up the transition.
I don’t think anyone will argue that China can be trusted. So, why then does Biden appear so insistent on a green agenda that will only push us into greater dependence on the communist nation? It can be argued that his rhetoric on the campaign trail was simply pandering to the eco-left voters, but now the consequences of his words are much more real. For the sake of our economy, national security and financial recovery from this pandemic, let’s hope that Biden understands the dangers of relying on China in such a significant way.
Biden, or rather the intern who runs his account, has tweeted “America is back,” presumably indicating a return to international engagement. If the world is in freefall, the pre-flight airline videos tell us to put our mask on first before assisting others. The stronger have to stay strong to help the weak. A strong America is better able to “be back.” American weakness does not make us more empathetic, more caring or compassionate. It does not make the world a safer place or tamper the ire of our adversaries.
America can be an even greater force for good in the globalist vision if we don’t return to dependence on the Middle East for oil and create a new dependence on China for green technology. Autonomy and self-sufficiency aren’t bad things, and if Biden pursues his globalist agenda, they are indispensable.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF