Trading US Energy Independence for China Rare Earth Dependence Benefits Only Beijing

by | Jun 11, 2021 |

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The Biden administration’s policy of trading away the 80% of American fossil-fueled energy independence and prosperity for technologies that are 80% dependent on China’s rare earth materials makes for a gullible green new deal that only Beijing beneficiaries can love.

Included are 17 indispensable metals, including lithium, that will be needed to supply those so-called green “technologies to decarbonize industry and power.”

Such 21st Century technologies are used to manufacture domestic and strategic military airplanes, computers, and smartphones; electricity generation and transmission systems; advanced weapon guidance systems; and yes, those solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries for utility-scale energy storage electric vehicles (EVs).

All of this feckless far-left anti-fossil fantasy focuses on a singular issue above all else that plays entirely to their advantage … namely to forego American energy independence for China’s support in promoting the administration’s climate crisis-premised agendas.

China is reportedly known to be looking into strategies to leverage its control of rare earths against competitive Western interests. Last January, according to the Financial Times, their Ministry of Industry and Information proposed draft controls where industry executives were asked to assess how U.S. and European companies could be affected if Beijing decided to cut rare-earth exports during a bilateral dispute.

A Chinese government adviser told the Financial Times that one of the topics discussed was whether the U.S. “may have trouble making F-35 fighter jets if China imposes an export ban.”

As President Biden and his handlers have re-upped the U.S. in the Paris Climate Accord and called for slashing our greenhouse emissions by 50% or more by 2030 over the 2005 level, China, the largest CO2-emitter gets a free pass to continue ramping up its coal development until 2030.

Last year, China built over three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined — the equivalent of one large coal plant per week.

The Biden administration’s vainglorious holy war on hydrocarbons exemplified by capping off the Keystone XL pipeline, canceling oil and gas permitting on federal lands and waters, and this month suspending drilling leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will vastly increase Beijing’s rare earth leverage and control over our national economy and security.

An unnecessary irony is that many of those “rare earths” aren’t truly all that rare.

Whereas China only actually possesses about an estimated one-third of global rare earth reserves, America also has an abundance of these natural resources.

The big problem is that environmental opposition to mining these dirty materials needed to create that “clean energy” has resulted in a regulatory minefield of local, state, and federal rules that have turned permitting into a costly decades-long process.

Lawmakers have all but banned rare earth mineral exploration and development on materials-rich federal lands, and the few once-active mines have been shuttered largely due to compliance costs.

Making matters even worse, many of the rare earths mined in the USA are processed in the People’s Republic of China because it’s cheaper to have them do it than to pay for American regulatory environmental and workplace safety costs.

Shortage pains will worsen as Democrat plans to transform America’s transportation to 100% EVs dramatically add to power demands, dependence on rare earth imports, and auto industry trade deficits.

In January 2020, Tesla Inc. kicked off production of its first vehicle manufactured outside the U.S. in its new $2 billion Shanghai, China factory.

GM, China’s second-biggest foreign automaker, aims to offer four models to improve its brand image and support a sales recovery: Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac’s Escalade, and the GMC Yukon Denali.

Ford announced plans last January to manufacture its Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric SUV, in China.

In addition to providing a large automotive sales market, China will maintain a chokehold over batteries needed for U.S. EV and hybrid production everywhere.

A report from Securing America’s Future Energy indicates that China currently controls nearly 70% of electric vehicle battery manufacturing capacity, compared to just 10% by the U.S.

The report projects that 107 of the 142 EV battery manufacturing projects scheduled by 2021 will be in China… with only nine in the U.S.

Add to this disaster-in-waiting that Taiwan – a central target of exploitive Chinese Communist Party territorial ambitions – produces 92% of the world’s most sophisticated sub-7 nanometer semiconductor computer chips, which form the backbone of many sectors in the rapidly evolving digital economy, ranging again from automotive – to smartphones – to advanced weapons systems.

The island is home to Taiwan Semiconductor CO. (TSMC), the world’s largest foundry and go-to producer of chips for Apple Inc. smartphones, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing.

Taiwan’s importance to the international auto industry recently became too important to ignore as shortfalls of chips used for everything from parking sensors to emission reduction recently forced carmakers, including the U.S. Ford Motor Co., Germany’s Volkswagen AG, and Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., to halt production.

Although the United States lacks a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, we maintain unofficial ties with the self-ruled island under a 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which authorizes the U.S. to provide defensive military equipment through a nonprofit corporation called the American Institute in Taiwan which serves as a de facto American embassy.

Nevertheless, Washington has always been cautious about provoking a major confrontation with Beijing over Taiwan’s sovereignty, a circumstance which can be expected to be particularly true with the current White House.

President Biden and his B Team are transparently desperate in seeking China President Xi Jinping’s symbolic support for their obsessive Paris partnership.

We can also but imagine that Biden Family Inc. isn’t anxious to risk ugly Beijing extortion blowback regarding legendary foreign influence-peddling demons known to be residing in Hunter’s laptop from Hell.

Altogether, team Biden’s clueless climate crisis-premised carbon-cutting cooperation canard awards huge gifts to China.

First, Beijing gains leverage over America in establishing unserious and unrealistic CO2 emission concessions as key bargaining chips in bilateral economic and trade policies.

In concert with a weak and compliant U.S. president, Chinese oligarchs then gleefully watch as America abandons its rich hydrocarbon resource advantages to eliminate competition from an economic and military adversary.

On top of all this, the Chinese Communist Party gains control to hold hostage over the commercial, industrial, and military materials needed to power Biden’s fossil-free fantasy future.

Such destructively dunderheaded green new dealings will not end well for America.

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Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the space architecture graduate program. He is the author of several books, including "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful” (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), and "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles."

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