It seems that any meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping inevitably presents another opportunity to render the U.S. increasingly reliant on China for its energy security.
This week’s meetings at the APEC conference in a suddenly cleaned-up San Francisco were no exception.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the bilateral meetings between the U.S. and China was the looming presence of John Kerry at the table. Kerry serves as Biden’s “climate envoy,” a made-up job that is not even a confirmed position and does not merit a seat at such meetings. But there he was, making sure the President and other U.S. officials toe the line on climate commitments.
Fox News reports that Kerry’s efforts resulted in more security compromising fruit, as State Department officials agreed with their Chinese counterparts to triple down on commitments to further inhibit American energy and national security in the name of climate change. The two governments agreed to “accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation” with renewables and electric vehicles in the coming years, a pledge that China has already undermined with its implementation of a new round of subsidies for the acceleration of its already-massive expansion of coal-fired power plants in the coming years.
It is the sort of deal China has routinely violated in recent years as it continues to prioritize its own energy security at the expense of stated climate goals. It is also the sort of deal that Kerry, Biden and other Democrats have systematically used over recent decades to render the U.S. increasingly reliant on China for its own energy future.
“The agreement speaks heavily about advancing — doubling down and tripling down on renewables, wind and solar. The majority of them are made in China,” Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of Power The Future, told Fox News Digital. “It is basically guaranteeing China decades of wealth, guaranteeing America is going to buy their products.”
Turner isn’t wrong, and the effects on climate change from the latest Kerry-led deal will be negligible, if not actually negative given China’s far lower environmental regulations and standards. Even worse, China’s control of the supply chains for most of the parts and metals that go into the making and deployment of renewables and EVs leaves the U.S. and other western nations with a steadily diminishing sphere of geopolitical leverage.
But Americans did receive a bit of positive news in the green energy realm this past week from a seemingly unlikely source: Oil major ExxonMobil. The biggest U.S.-based oil company announced the kickoff of a new project to produce lithium from a deep underground saltwater formation in southern Arkansas called the Smackover.
Somewhat ironically, ExxonMobil will deploy standard oil and gas drilling, production and reinjection technologies and processes to produce, extract and process the lithium. If successful, the project will turn America’s biggest major oil company into one of the country’s biggest lithium companies, too.
This is probably not exactly the model Biden’s regulators, many of whom are alumni of leftist anti-fossil fuel lobby groups, envisioned when they began launching their myriad efforts to subsidize and regulate this artificial energy transition into being, but they should be glad to take the help where they can get it.
Given that the ExxonMobil project will qualify for the tax incentives contained in the Orwellian-named Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden officials will even be able to point to it as a success story related to that costly legislation.
Given that the administration’s own efforts to source domestic supplies of critical energy metals and free their supply chains from Chinese dominance have to this point borne little fruit, the project being mounted by ExxonMobil amounts to a great leap forward.
What it all demonstrates as that all the handshake deals between government Mandarins like Kerry in the world cannot match the power of innovation and ingenuity from America’s private sector. It also demonstrates the absolute necessity of maintaining a healthy and robust domestic oil and gas industry, without which none of this is remotely possible.
David Blackmon on November 18, 2023