The gifts the Biden Administration has already given the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in just two years have been nothing short of exorbitant -- and often to the detriment of the US.
They have included cancelling the China Initiative that was countering CCP espionage on American soil; allowing the CCP spy-balloon to leisurely hover over America's major nuclear and military sites while gathering sensitive information to send back to Beijing in real time; permitting CCP interests (there are no private interests in China) to buy up American farmland -- especially near US military bases -- also with the potential of controlling the distribution of food inside the US or manipulating the crops; poisoning to death more than 100,000 Americans -- each year -- with fentanyl and other drugs; placing at least six CCP police stations inside American cities; sidestepping Chinese accountability for lying about the origins and transmissibility of COVID-19; condoning the data-gathering and propagandizing of American children by TikTok; doing nothing as the CCP and established naval and other military facilities in the Pacific, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Africa, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, Mexico, Argentina, and has established a significant presence on both sides of the Panama Canal. The Biden Administration has also sat back and watched as the CCP not only installed itself throughout Latin America but also in Caribbean, as well as establishing a military training facility on Cuba's north shore.
Now, the Biden Administration intends to spend more than half a trillion dollars on "clean energy and climate action over the next decade", according to the US Department of Energy. That amount would reportedly include projects for climate change and investments in renewable energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
The problem is: these policies are all gifts to China.
In solar energy, according to S&P Global, China produces between 70% and 98% of the world's silicon-based raw material and other components for solar panels -- a solid world monopoly. According to the US Department of Energy:
"Since President Biden took office, nearly $5 billion in solar manufacturing investments have been announced, including 47 manufacturing plants. Altogether, these investments are enough to power an additional 7 million homes per year."
It will take an extremely long time before the US can produce anything that remotely matches China's current monopoly, which is why the Biden administration's policy will benefit China for years to come.
According to USA Facts:
"Most solar panels are imported, with three-quarters of the imports originating from Chinese subsidiaries manufacturing in Southeast Asia. Despite heavy import tariffs, the US has not kept pace with global solar manufacturing growth and lost 80% of its global market share from 2009 to 2019. In 2004, the US accounted for about 13% of global solar panel shipments but fell to just 0.5% in 2017."
Additionally, not enough is being invested in the manufacturing of solar panels in the US. The lapse has caused the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie to question whether the US market will be able to meet the Biden administration's lofty environmental goals. Solar cells will mainly be coming from China.
In addition, the Biden Administration has placed a massive bet on electric vehicles. The goal is that 50% of new vehicles sold in the US should be electric by 2030. The problem is: that also directly benefits China. Electric vehicles need lithium-ion batteries. China has almost a global monopoly on producing them. China, in 2020, manufactured 76% of global lithium-ion battery capacity. The US produced 8%. Another problem is that electric vehicles are expensive -- just replacing the battery-pack of a vehicle can cost up to $18,000 -- and prices are currently soaring.
The average cost of raw materials, including lithium, nickel and cobalt, was more than $8,000 per electric vehicle in June 2022. That amount represented an increase of more than 140% since 2020, resulting in the cost of producing an electric vehicle being 125% more to that of an internal combustion vehicle. How many American consumers can afford such expensive cars? Furthermore, electric vehicles have a tendency to burst into flames. None of these problems seems to bother the Biden Administration.
When it comes to wind energy, according to the US Department of Energy:
"The Administration has set an ambitious goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs, and spur investment across the supply chain. The Department of Energy, through President Biden's clean energy plan, has supported this initiative with nearly $50 million in research, development and demonstration funding."
There are, however, several problems with wind turbines. One is that the US still relies on foreign imports to make them, including from -- China. Another is that wind turbines endanger wildlife, such as birds and whales.
The Biden Administration, furthermore, has set the goal of reaching a 50-52% reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels in 2030 and economy-wide "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Biden Administration has also set a goal to "achieve a carbon-pollution-free electricity sector by 2035." All these measures clearly hobble the US and reduce its power to compete, while China, already the world's largest user of fossil fuels, has announced that by 2030, its carbon dioxide emissions will peak.
China last year built more new coal-fired power plants than the rest of the world combined -- the equivalent of two new coal-fired plants per week. China, in fact, according to the energy data organizations Global Energy Monitor and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, quadrupled the amount of new coal power approvals in 2022 compared to 2021.
Finally, as part of the Biden Administration's climate change policies, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a program to limit how much carbon dioxide US coal- and gas-fired power plants may emit.
The proposal means that US electric power plants would have to transform the way that they operate, either costing them billions in new equipment, or closing them down entirely.
All these Biden policies seem almost custom-tailored to reduce America's ability to compete internationally, while giving China even more room to grow its economy and gain an even greater edge over the US.
It should also be recalled that, according to John Kerry, the Biden Administration's "climate envoy," whatever the US does unilaterally, without similar action by China and other major economies, is utterly pointless. Kerry admitted in January 2021 that even if the US were to have zero carbon emissions, "almost 90 percent of all of the planet's global emissions come from outside of US borders. We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn't solved."
Robert Williams is a researcher based in the United States.