The Biden administration wants to save the planet from global warming. Operating under the unshakable belief that greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by fossil fuel consumption are the sole cause of rising global temperatures, and that green energy (from the sun and wind) is the sole solution to the GHG problem, it plans to replace carbon emitters (such as electricity generation plants fired by coal or natural gas and internal combustion vehicles [ICVs] fueled by gasoline) with green gadgets (such as solar panels, windmills, and electric vehicles [EVs]). This process, the green transition, must be implemented globally, and promptly. The nations of the world must reduce their GHG emissions 43% by 2030 and reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Otherwise, the global temperature rise by 2100 will exceed 1.5°C, causing climate catastrophe.
According to President Biden, America will lead the transition from a planet overheated by hydrocarbon fuels to one cooled by solar panels, windmills, and batteries produced in American factories. US CO2 emissions will plummet as America rushes to purchase its mandated portion of that production. And, as the nations of the world rush to fulfill their emissions reductions pledges, the demand for American-made green gadgets will explode. A revitalized American economy will boom; Americans will prosper — this time with high-paying union jobs.
Except that effectively all of these products, and all of the energy transition materials (ETMs) — minerals such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals — required for their manufacture will be produced by China. Americans won’t see a nickel. Instead, they will see their money, along with their jobs, in flight to China. And they will see America’s landscape blighted by sprawling hideous solar farms, wind farms, and battery farms, whose reliability, cost, feasibility, and effectiveness is dubious, at best — to say nothing of the enormous landfills needed to hold dilapidated green gadgets. As physicist Mark Mills noted in “Mines, Minerals, and “Green” Energy: A Reality Check,” by 2050, “the quantity of worn-out solar panels — much of it nonrecyclable — will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.”
Americans won’t see a nickel. Instead, they will see their money, along with their jobs, in flight to China.
As companies such as now-bankrupt Solyndra painfully discovered during the Obama administration, America (whose per capita annual income is $70,249) cannot compete with China (whose per capita annual income is $12,556, to say nothing of its slave labor and notoriously lax safety and environmental standards) in the manufacture of such products. Further, even if American factories were able to overcome the extreme wage differential (for example, by replacing union workers with robots), there is no ability to extract the raw materials that these factories need. This is not a minor flaw in the Biden plan. It is a major design feature.
The quantities of ETMs needed (to manufacture the quantities of green gadgets needed to save the planet) are not currently available. Their production will require new mines and refining facilities. But US mines are being shut down. According to a Fox News report, the Department of the Interior recently canceled two existing mineral leases in northern Minnesota — projects that “contained about 88% of the nation’s cobalt reserves.” This decision was followed by the announcement that it would institute a 20-year ban on new mining projects in the region.” Further, “the Biden administration has implemented regulatory roadblocks on mines in Alaska, Arizona and Nevada, which have massive copper, molybdenum and lithium deposits.”
To appreciate the scale of these operations, consider that a single 1,000 pound EV battery involves the extraction and processing of 500,000 pounds of raw materials. US automobile manufacturers sell about 15 million ICVs annually. Thus, to meet Biden’s emission reduction goal of 50% EVs by 2030 will require the extraction and processing of 3.75 trillion pounds of earth — a tremendous boon to the US mining industry. But the Biden administration prefers China for the task. For example, as also reported by Fox News (above), Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia to finance mining projects, “despite the DRC’s documented issues with child laborers being used in such mines.” Said the exuberant Mr. Blinken, “This is the future.”
The DRC is the source of 70% of the world’s cobalt supply. But China owns or controls 80% of the DRC’s cobalt mines. Note that China also supplies “about 90% of rare-earths for the world” and has “quietly gained control over more than 90% of the battery industry’s cobalt refining.” In America, where only 0.4% of the world’s cobalt is mined, “imports account for 90% of U.S. solar panels and 80% of the key power components of wind turbines. Asian companies utterly dominate global battery production.” China’s dominance was established, in no small part, through the efforts of Hunter Biden, whose private equity firm helped Chinese conglomerate China Molybdenum buy out an American-owned DRC mine in 2018, giving to China the world’s largest deposit of cobalt.
Even if American factories were able to overcome the extreme wage differential, there is no ability to extract the raw materials that these factories need.
America will play almost no role on the supply side of green technology. ETMs will be mined in countries such as the DRC, where the average annual income is $577, and where worker and environmental safety laws are ignored. They will be transported to distant factories in China by Chinese merchant vessels, powered by diesel fuel. China owns 7,318 such vessels; US-flagged merchant vessels number only 180. America will be largely relegated to the demand side, as a mandated consumer of Chinese solar panels, windmills, and batteries. As in the case of ETMs, these items will be transported by Chinese ships. They will arrive along with the millions of tons of other Chinese products on which America depends — from industrial supplies and pharmaceuticals to iPhones and LeBron James sneakers made with Chinese slave labor.
China — an authoritarian, Communist nation of 1.4 billion people whose chief domestic energy source is coal and whose chief national goal is to achieve world dominance by 2049 — will be enriched. America — now an authoritarian, democratic nation whose chief national goal is the abandonment of its chief domestic energy source — will be punished. For the Biden plan bequeaths to China ownership of, or control over, the vast majority of the world’s green technology supply chain. America will play but a bit part in the rush, which must necessarily occur, to produce the quantities of green gadgets required by 2050.
But it gets worse, much worse. Unlike the Trump administration, which recognized China as a threat to US security and used tariffs and trade negotiations to diminish that threat, the Biden administration treats China like a sacred cow. It condones Chinese idiosyncrasies such as slave labor, virology lab leaks (and coverups), theft of American intellectual property, and fentanyl production. But more incredibly, the administration that ardently believes that climate change is an existential threat to humanity, allows China, a highly advanced and industrialized nation with the world’s second largest economy, to be treated as a developing nation. As such, China’s anorectic emissions reduction pledges are tolerated, if not welcomed. For example, China has stated that it aims to achieve carbon neutrality, not by 2050, but by 2060. This flaccid goal was announced by President Xi Jinping in September 2020 with much media fanfare. According to a fawning International Energy Agency (IEA) report, it showed “that achieving carbon neutrality fits with China’s broader development goals, such as increasing prosperity, strengthening technology leadership and shifting towards innovation-driven growth.”
Of course it fits with China’s development goals. Xi wants China to prosper. The issue is China’s commitment to its climate pledge. For if that promise is not kept, the planet cannot be saved. Yet the very next year a glimpse of that commitment was revealed, when China’s coal output reached the highest level ever. As Breitbart News reported in November 2021, “When power shortages and rolling blackouts began hitting China’s industrial centers in the fall of 2021, the Chinese government ordered an ‘all-out’ campaign to ‘produce as much coal as possible’ from both domestic mines and foreign suppliers.” That is, there is no commitment.
Only a doddering idiot would waste his nation’s most abundant energy source.
From 2000 to 2021 the US reduced its annual carbon emissions from 5.8 gigatons (GTs) to 4.6 GTs, a decrease of 1.2 GTs. In contrast, during the same period, global emissions grew from 24.3 GTs to 36.3, an increase of 12 GTs; China’s emissions alone grew from 3.5 GTs to 11.9 GTs, an increase of 8.4 GTs. The US decrease was largely the result of fracking, which made America’s supply of natural gas cheaper than coal, which, in turn resulted in a major decrease in US coal-fired power plants to 225. China’s increase was largely the result of its immense domestic supply of coal and its 1118 coal-fired power plants, which spew more GHGs into the atmosphere than any nation on the planet. At present, the US generates 61% of its electricity from fossil fuels (23% from coal and 38% from natural gas). China generates 71% of its electricity from fossil fuels (60% from coal and only 11% from natural gas). But coal emits twice as much carbon as natural gas. As a result, the emissions produced by electricity generated in China will be more than 150% greater than the same quantity produced in the US. Because energy-intensive green technology production constitutes a net increase to the world’s existing output rate, the flurry of gadget production that must occur between now and 2050 will likely prevent planet-saving emissions reduction goals from being met. But if the gadgets are produced by China, the 2050 emissions increase will put the global temperature rise on a path to 3.0°C by 2100. That is, the Biden plan will not only not save the planet, it will likely worsen the imagined climate crisis.
During decades of indignant clamor for a world powered by windmills, solar panels, and batteries, the climate change cabal did not take the trouble to figure out where, apart from thin air, these gadgets and their critically necessary ETMs would come from. Under the Biden plan, almost all of them will come from China. China’s economy will boom, stimulated by factories churning out green gadgets to meet America’s voracious, mandated demand. The American economy, once thriving and energy independent, will, having become dependent on China for its green energy, stagnate. It will be crippled by idled factories sitting atop America’s immense supply of idled oil and gas. Chinese factories will bustle, powered by coal-fired electricity generation plants, annually belching gigatons of filthy carbon emissions, and sinful irony. As secretary Blinken would gush, this is the future.
Unlike Biden, Xi Jinping is no fool. He will not squander China’s coal supply. Only a doddering idiot would waste his nation’s most abundant energy source. Xi will exploit China’s green gadget supply chain dominance. Under that looming red perch, the emissions-obsessed nations of the world will become dependent on a national security-obsessed China, with China becoming the principal economic and geopolitical beneficiary of America’s green new deal. Only the profoundly delusional could expect China to reduce its emissions enough for the world to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Instead, Xi will use coal, and the blithe schemes of frightful climate cultists, to achieve world dominance by 2049.
I watched a video by Mark Mills detailing this problem. He shows the numbers of several scarce minerals that will be needed. We are going to run into a brick wall soon.