The Biden administration’s China outreach continued earlier this week as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry stepped up to the plate, following Secretaries Antony Blinken and Janet Yellen’s recent trips — and telling bowing and scraping to Chinese officials. For his part, Kerry vowed “no concessions” to China in this latest visit.
Americans can be forgiven for skepticism. The reality is that the Biden administration’s entire climate policy agenda is predicated on American “concessions” to China.
Kerry’s most recent jaunt to China offered just another chance to watch the disaster of this climate theater play out on the world stage.
Put simply, the Biden administration’s climate plans consist of subjugating American free-market prosperity in favor of a government-mandated “green energy transition” through a slew of burdensome regulations and market-manipulating subsidies. The efforts have been expansive, from more than a trillion in so-called Inflation Reduction Act spending that Kerry loves to tout to an all-out regulatory war on traditional American energy production.
The consequence? The U.S. becomes increasingly dependent on our adversaries for abundant resources we fail to harvest here at home while we send our special presidential envoy for Climate to convince other nations to join us on the road to de-growth. Unsurprisingly, this appeal often fails to persuade across the globe.
Instead of negotiating from a position of strength, Kerry’s brand of climate diplomacy consists of weakening the U.S. position by waging war on American energy in the name of climate goals, with hopes that our adversaries will join us rather than reaping the benefits of our self-destruction.
An increasingly aggressive China produces more emissions than all of the developed world combined and has approved the equivalent of two new coal power plants a week in just the last year. These developments come as China continues to enjoy its developing nation status privileges — and openly plans to continue increasing emissions through 2030 — under the Paris Agreement, which the Biden administration rejoined upon taking office.
Yet, while looking for climate concessions from China, the Biden administration continues to push for untenable expansion of mineral-heavy “renewable” energy dependent on Chinese-dominated critical mineral supply chains. This comes even as China just earlier this month implemented restrictions on gallium and germanium, which are essential to cellphone screens, microchips, fiber optics cables, and other technology. As China again demonstrates its willingness to exercise mineral supply controls against the U.S., our government should move to reduce dependence, not increase it.
And even as tensions grow from Chinese spy balloons to the latest government email hacks, Kerry promised that the Biden administration will somehow “separate Climate” in negotiations with China, “notwithstanding those other tensions” with America’s adversary. Of course, this separation will never occur. Naturally, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rejects this premise, having no desire to limit its negotiation power in deference to Kerry’s climate goals.
But further than that, the Biden administration has placed climate so centrally to its domestic and foreign policy that separating any negotiation from its consequences is not possible. To truly negotiate from a place of strength, the Biden administration must abandon its climate policy approach and return to a pro-American energy, pro-growth agenda.
During the Biden administration’s war on American energy, American oil production is 3 million barrels a day below where it would have been if we had continued the policies that were in place during the Trump Administration.
Massive subsidies are now pushing the nation further into debt and manipulating markets in favor of unreliable energy. Regular blackouts are becoming a greater threat.
Americans are facing higher prices across the economy, up 16% since the start of the Biden administration. And heavy-handed regulation is discouraging investment in America’s energy future and meddling in every aspect of American life, right down to the choice of cars, stoves, and dishwashers.
The Biden administration’s “green dream” is a nightmare for anyone with common sense, hindering American freedom and prosperity, all while failing to meet promised environmental goals. That’s a good reason why so much of it is implemented through bureaucratic fiat rather than Congress.
Instead of crippling our own abilities in favor of foreign energy suppliers, we must recognize our nation’s vast potential to produce energy here at home, with the highest environmental and labor standards. That means free-market competition and innovation, not top-down mandates like the CCP’s.
It means serious permitting reform that allows America to build again. And it means recognizing American prosperity — not its decline — as the key to our future.
It’s high time we quit bowing to China. We need policies that promote American independence, not dependence on OPEC and China for our energy needs. Simply put, American strength is powered by American energy. We need only embrace it.
Carla Sands is Vice Chair of the Center for Energy & Environment at the America First Policy Institute. She previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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