Biden’s policies on climate change work more in China’s interests: former NSA officer

The Biden administration’s focus on climate change can be geopolitically dangerous, as green policies can shift power into the hands of China, which has monopolized the supply chain of rare minerals needed to produce technology renewable energy, said Steve Yates, former deputy national security adviser. in the White House from 2001 to 2005, in an interview with Epoch Times sister outlet NTD Television on Nov. 10.

“I don’t think they’ve found a sustainable path to the goal they set for themselves. Certainly, he shifted a lot of power to China. And China hasn’t been willing to work with them on this either,” said Yates, who is also a senior fellow at the China Policy Initiative chair of the America First Policy Initiative.

China is the largest investor in renewable energy in the world, both at home and abroad. Five of the world’s six largest solar module manufacturing companies and the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer are also owned by China, according to a 2017 report by the World Resources Institute. China’s Tainqi Lithium is one of the biggest makers of lithium-ion batteries, an important component of electric vehicle batteries.

US climate change policy has not reduced China’s stakes in the renewable energy market and its near-monopoly over the supply chain of rare-earth minerals considered critical to the production of energy technologies renewable. The latter has been seen as a foreign policy challenge for the US due to its own reliance on China’s rare earth supply chain.

Yates said the Biden administration should not adopt policies that support China’s interest in the renewable energy market and should work urgently to catch up by first using the resources it has in the market. country.

The US Senate, which remains intensely divided on climate change policies, on September 21 approved its first international climate change treaty in three decades when it approved a 2016 agreement to phase out chemical refrigerants that are among the worst pollutants.

In doing so, the United States joined 136 other nations and the European Union in approving the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that promises to reduce chemical refrigerants by 80% over the next three decades.

The legislation aims to revive US solar manufacturing, however, Cullen S. Hendrix, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said in an analysis that the deal does not secure US solar supply chains from China, who control 70 to 80% of world production.

“[The bill] would help close the gap in solar module production, but leave the United States dependent on China for critical links in the supply chain. This addiction must be fought. The current situation is a significant source of US strategic vulnerability,” Hendrix said.

The Celukan Bawang 2 power station in Singaraja on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 29, 2020. (Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP via Getty Images)

Economic destruction

Yates called the administration’s focus on climate change a ‘problematic proposition’ and said it could destroy the US economy before the climate even causes disasters because green policies can raise prices fuel and probably become the cause of massive inflation.

“And it’s tough on households,” Yates said. “So hopefully they’ll sober up and get back to working with the Americans and more broadly in this hemisphere, to do things ourselves without having to rely on them. [China].”

The situation demands that the Biden administration think and act differently, he said.

“Part of that means focusing with renewed vigor on our own hemisphere, there’s a lot we could do with countries like Brazil or other parts of our hemisphere. And other parts of the world,” he said. he said, adding that rather than depending on the “carnivorous market” of China, the United States should also help countries in Asia and Africa to work with the other nations of the free world to undo the monopoly of China.

Ironically, China’s promises on climate change go well beyond the tenure of any Chinese leader as well as commitments made by other nations, according to Yates.

“And so, while the US and Europe might set these bold goals of having net zero impact by 2030 or 2035, China is like 2060. And beyond! So even when they make a promise, it’s so far that it can’t really be taken seriously,” he said, adding that all this while China continued to be one of the major polluters in the world.

China generates more than 30% of all global emissions, while the United States produces 14% according to 2019 statistics from Climate Trade. China’s carbon output continues to rise each year, and some of its companies pollute more than entire nations, such as China Petroleum & Chemical which produced more carbon dioxide in 2020 than Canada, according to a Bloomberg report from 2021.

“And so I think they pursued a model of strategic decoupling themselves, trying to block potential sanctions or potential negative impacts from the United States, Europe and others,” Yates said.

He suggested that the United States reactivate the development and use of clean nuclear energy in the country and even in its hemisphere with other partners. “There are small modular reactors that are efficient and more recyclable.”

Yates thinks the administration can collaborate with Elon Musk on things like battery development.

“None of this is perfect. But we have to be realistic about the energy supply needed to run modern life. It will not be wind and solar. We’re going to have to involve some degree of batteries to avoid brownouts and blackouts from time to time,” he said, adding that a potential creative free market collaboration is more likely to solve this problem than a government recommendation in the United States. States or bilateral cooperation with China.

Venus Upadhayaya

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Venus Upadhayaya reports on a wide range of issues. His area of ​​expertise is Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported on the volatile India-Pakistan border and contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainability and leadership remain her main areas of interest.

Tiffany Meier

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Tiffany Meier is a New York-based journalist and host of NTD’s China in Focus.

Teresa H. Sadler