Despite broad public skepticism, Joe Biden continues to push for the adoption of renewable energy at the expense of traditional sources, like petroleum and natural gas.
Biden's ongoing hostility to the conventional energy mix is a major reason the price we pay at the pump is rapidly becoming unaffordable for many American families. Meanwhile, the proponents of green energy cheer, perceiving any decline in fossil fuel consumption as leading to a reduction of greenhouse gasses.
Music to their ears. Yet while they are calling the tune, we pay the piper. Most Americans are all for doing “something” about climate change, but they’re not willing to pay very much to do it. If it’s a problem, it is a global one the United States cannot fix by itself, let alone afford to. Every nation must participate, but many cannot afford to.
Some, countries like China, simply refuse. Its use of coal to power its industrial sector is rising so quickly that it easily eliminates the benefits of any reduction of U.S. carbon emissions – but that’s only part of the problem.
Most Americans don’t realize how reliant on China the Biden administration’s plan for future U.S. energy production is. The renewable energy strategy doesn’t work if, for example, cheap Chinese solar components are not allowed into the United States. That’s why the White House moved rapidly to allow them to continue to unfairly compete with U.S.-made products by moving to suspend tariffs on some products coming from China.
That was a move several steps in the wrong direction. First, it takes U.S. energy resources off the board and stifles the innovations of producers working to supply Americans with cleaner, more affordable energy. Former Congressman Harold Ford, a Democrat from Tennessee, got it right when he urged President Biden to “stop vilifying U.S. energy producers, many of which are leading the development of technologies to mitigate carbon emissions and make the transition to cleaner energy.”
Second, the president is signaling his administration is willing to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in pursuit of the green dream. Almost 40 percent of the global production of polysilicon important to the manufacture of solar panels comes from China’s Xinjiang region, where, according to the U.S. Department of State, genocide and slave labor are prevalent.
Nowhere do these two points come into focus more than in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where a prime example of what one watchdog group has dubbed a “Solar Boondoggle” is about to begin. In March 2022, Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan announced his intention to transition the territory’s power production completely to solar.
Andrew Smith, who heads the U.S. territory’s power authority, WAPA, recently said the move to solar would be a boon to the island “because solar is effectively free.” You might call him amusingly naïve except he might be right, especially if the Biden administration ends up sending the bill for the transition to the U.S. taxpayers.
To have any chance of making this solar pipe dream a reality, the economics of the move require Gov. Bryan and the Virgin Islands to use cheaper Chinese components, regardless of the impact on American industry or the possibility they could be benefiting from slave labor. Now replicate this model in counties, cities, and states across America and think of the mess it will cause.
Whether we like it or not, the Democrats are moving to bring their dream of an America that runs on renewable energy to life. And they’re doing it despite the realities of the marketplace, the scientific barriers yet to be overcome, and the global challenges inherent in such an effort. In pursuit of its green objectives, the Biden Administration is ignoring why it’s wise to avoid China because it needs China to do what it wants. Congressional China Task Force Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, says the suspension of the tariffs amounts to giving “amnesty to products that the administration admitted are linked to genocide and slave labor.”
So, in addition to being a colossal waste of tax dollars, the Biden Solar Boondoggle is a blot on America’s record on human rights we’ll all pay for, one way or another.
Copyright 2022 Peter Roff distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Peter Roff is a former UPI and U.S. News & World Report columnist who is now affiliated with several Washington-D.C.-based public policy organizations. Contact Roff at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @PeterRoff.