Hello and welcome to The Climate 202! We hope you had a good weekend. Today Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is on tour Terra Power‘s nuclear research facility north of Seattle, while we stay in the other Washington and enjoy the fantastic fall weather. But first :
This Republican wants to outdo China on climate change
“I am very concerned that we are becoming dependent on supply chains controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” McMorris Rodgers said in an interview last week. “They control the supply chains around wind, solar and batteries, and that’s a dangerous future for us.”
If Republicans regain control of the House in next month’s midterm elections, McMorris Rodgers would become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, where the fight against China on climate would likely become one of its central messages.
Democrats have focused on that message, too — albeit with a different policy response. The Democrats’ landmark climate law, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Actseeks to supplant China as a key supplier of green technologies by offering generous tax incentives to domestic clean technology manufacturing.
The rhetoric from both sides comes as Xi Jinping Sunday opened a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party where he is expected to secure an unprecedented third term as party leader. It also comes after Beijing suspended climate talks with the US in retaliation for the visit of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) in Taiwan.
These recent developments have propelled the competition between the United States and China — the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters — to the forefront of climate conversations on Capitol Hill.
Another major bill passed this summer, the Flea Law and Sciencesubsidizes US semiconductor manufacturing to counter concentrated manufacturing capacity in Taiwan and China.
In last week’s interview, McMorris Rodgers argued that Democrats want to move too quickly to clean energy, risking greater reliance on China in the short term.
“It’s critical that we don’t waste hundreds of billions of dollars on a political agenda that forces a green energy transition that…makes America more dependent on the Chinese Communist Party for batteries and solar panels,” he said. she stated.
“And China doesn’t have the protections in place – we know there are human rights abuses,” she added, referring to allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang, which produces around 50% of the world’s supply of polysilicon, a raw material used to manufacture solar panels. panels.
Heather Ramespresident of Citizens for responsible energy solutionsa right-wing environmental group, said McMorris Rodgers has long linked energy issues to donald trumpbrand of “America First” foreign policy in a way that appeals to its base.
“She was one of the first voices on an ‘America First’ program dealing with energy,” Reams said. “That resonates incredibly well with Republicans overall.”
Quill RobinsonVice President of Advocacy for American Conservation Coalitiona conservative, millennial-oriented environmental group, agreed.
“This is something Republicans can and should contribute to the conversation as we make our energy sources cleaner,” he said.
Despite his vocal advocacy to counter China on climate, McMorris Rodgers voted against two bills — the Curbing Inflation Act and the Chips and Science Act — that seek to achieve this goal.
Ilaria Mazzoccoa comrade of Center for Strategic and International Studies who wrote about the two bills, said the Cut Inflation Act in particular is poised to reduce America’s reliance on Chinese supply chains for clean tech, even though the Global supply chains will continue to flow through China for some time.
Asked why she opposes the Cut Inflation Act, McMorris Rodgers argued that it would accelerate the country’s energy transition at too high a cost.
“California and Europe have passed massive government subsidies and regulations to place unreliable, weather-dependent renewables above all other energy sources,” she said. “This has led to spiraling costs, life-threatening blackouts and rationing, without meeting the emissions reduction target. It’s not a future Americans want, but it’s exactly where President Biden and the Democrats are taking us under the “IRA.” ”
Scientists, however, see the urgent need for aggressive climate action. According to a recent report by United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Reams said she believes Republicans would have supported aspects of the climate law had Democrats not passed it using the party line’s reconciliation process.
“The process really wasn’t beneficial to us as Republicans at all,” she said. “But let’s not confuse politics with politics. And that happens, unfortunately, a lot in Washington.
Senate race in Ohio is at ground zero for hopes of more clean energy jobs
The need to revitalize American manufacturing takes center stage in the race for the open seat of the Ohio Senate, as new factories for solar and electric vehicles pop up in the state’s faded industrial towns, reports the Washington Post. David J. Lynch reports.
In interviews with The Post, Representative Tim Ryan (D) and his Republican opponent JD Vance both sought to fit into the narrative of the return of the state.
“Our focus should be: how do we position ourselves to be in front of as many growing industries as possible?” said Ryan. “Electric vehicles, cars, trucks, batteries… hydrogen, natural gas, nuclear, solar, aerospace. How do you lay the foundations of an industrial policy for all these elements? We have an opportunity to dominate these industries of the future.
Meanwhile, Vance touted the former president donald trumpimport tariffs and said faster development of state energy resources could trigger a job boom. He added that he wants Ohio to double down on hydraulic fracturing — a process environmentalists have criticized for harmful health effects — to ensure manufacturers have access to cheap energy.
It’s unclear, however, whether either candidate could actually bring an influx of manufacturing jobs to the state. Many of the new positions will require special skills or be occupied by machines. To Solar of Toledowhich last month announced a major expansion spurred by tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Actgrowth will create a limited number of new jobs in the short term.
Xi vows to prioritize the environment as he prepares for his third term
Chinese President Xi Jinping Sunday has pledged to prioritize conservation and promote eco-friendly lifestyles as he positions himself for a groundbreaking third term, David Stanway reports for Reuters.
In an opening speech to the Communist Party Congress, Xi pledged to “fundamentally eliminate” heavy air and water pollution and touted China’s progress in addressing environmental issues over the past of the last decade of his reign.
“Ecological and environmental protection has undergone a historic, transformational and comprehensive change – our homeland’s skies are bluer, the mountains are greener, and the water is clearer,” Xi told more than 2,300 delegates.
At the same time, Xi made clear that China would continue to rely on coal in its transition to renewable energy, pledging to promote “clean and efficient use of coal”. Helena Davidson and Emma Graham Harrison report for the Guardian.
His remarks come weeks before the COP27 climate talks in Egypt. Last year COP26 talks in Scotland, China and the United States pledged to work together to boost clean energy, tackle deforestation and reduce methane emissions.
Alaska cancels snow crab season for the first time after population collapse
Alaska will for the first time cancel the winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea and prevent fishermen from catching king crabs in Bristol Bay for a second consecutive year, due to a dramatic decline in the population esteemed of these creatures, according to The Post. Andrew Jeon reports.
The announcement by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game deals a blow to fishermen who live off crabs and the industry worth more than 200 million state dollars. It comes after around 90% of snow crabs mysteriously disappeared before last season.
Although the reason for the collapse of snow crab populations remains unknown, some experts have pointed to both climate change and overfishing as possible culprits. The Environmental Protection Agency stated in a recent report that rising temperatures linked to human-caused global warming may have forced the species north or into deeper seas, while the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated snow crab as overfished.