Officials From Key US Ally Sound The Alarm On Chinese Influence As Net Zero Commitment Wavers

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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Nick Pope Contributor
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U.K. officials are increasingly wary of Chinese influence in the electric vehicle (EV) market as the conservative Tory party is beginning to waver in its commitment to sweeping long-term climate policies, according to reports from The Sunday Telegraph.

Chinese manufacturers could dominate the British automobile market once the U.K.’s 2030 ban on gas-powered cars goes into effect, a dynamic which several ministers have warned will enable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to spy on British citizens and harvest their data, according to The Telegraph. Some British officials are raising the alarm about potential CCP influence and leverage in the future as prominent Tory officials, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have signaled that they may be inclined to roll back parts of the U.K.’s ambitious net zero carbon dioxide emissions commitments.

The U.K. has set an ambitious goal of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 100% relative to 1990 by 2050, according to the House of Lords Library. CCP-backed EV manufacturers could flood the British marketplace with cheap EVs after the 2030 ban goes into effect, with one unnamed minister calling Chinese EVs “high-risk products” which “will be used with all of the data that they collect, and that’s how [they become] incredibly valuable and quite dangerous,” according to The Telegraph. (RELATED: British PM Lifts Fracking Ban To Combat Energy Crisis)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Land Rover for an announcement on a new electric car battery factory on July 19, 2023 in Warwick, England. (Photo Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Another anonymous high-level government source said that “if it is manufactured in a country like China, how certain can you be that it won’t be a vehicle for collecting intel and data?” according to The Telegraph. “If you have electric vehicles manufactured by countries who are already using technology to spy, why would they not do the same here?”

“We will never compromise our national security and are continuing to strengthen our infrastructure and supply chain resilience to protect UK economic security,” a U.K. government spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’ve developed requirements for all car manufacturers to mitigate against cyber threats in their designs and monitor the risk through the life of their vehicles – we’re exploring options to make these mandatory for all new cars, vans and trucks in Great Britain.”

The U.K. remains committed to the EV mandate, and the government is working with manufacturers to ensure cybersecurity of new models, a government spokesperson told the DCNF.

The increasing concern about the CCP using green technology as a means to bolster its geopolitical standing follows Sunak’s July comments suggesting that his government is committed to a greener future, but will look to implement policies that are “proportionate and pragmatic” to avoid saddling British citizens with expensive and cumbersome requirements, according to The Telegraph.

“Of course net zero is important to me,” Sunak said when pressed for details of his views on the green energy transition, according to The Telegraph. “So yes, we’re going to keep making progress towards our net zero ambitions and we’re also going to strengthen our energy security.”

Several Tory officials have also reportedly urged Sunak to consider rolling back other ambitious climate policies, such as a plan to phase out new gas-powered boilers by 2035, according to The Telegraph. Sunak also is set to approve hundreds of new offshore oil and gas leases in the North Sea, another indication that the U.K.’s current government may be backing away from green commitments, according to Politico Europe.

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