Experts raise alarm after Biden strikes agreement with China to shut down fossil fuels

U.S. energy experts are warning of the economic and national security implications of President Biden’s pact with China this week to move towards shutting down fossil fuel production in favor of green energy.

The State Department announced this week it had struck a deal with its Chinese counterparts pledging to “accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation” with green energy sources like wind and solar power. The nations, which account for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions, also agreed to “deepen policy exchanges” on reducing carbon emissions in various sectors, like power, industry, buildings and transportation, across their economies.

But the agreement — in which the nations further pledged to “sufficiently accelerate renewable energy deployment in their respective economies through 2030” — was criticized over its potential impact on U.S. consumers. Experts also noted that China has rarely followed through on international accords and stands to financially benefit from such an agreement since it controls much of the world’s green energy supply chain.

“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 in an interview.

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biden, xi jinping

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after a meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ week in Woodside, California on November 15, 2023. ((Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images))

“So, you’re basically writing an agreement that guarantees China a customer and guarantees their manufacturing sector decades of purchasing. Of course China would love this agreement. And their obligations — they’ll just ignore that. They’ve ignored every other obligation,” Turner added. “It is basically guaranteeing China decades of wealth, guaranteeing America is going to buy their products.”

In addition, the U.S. and China pledged under the agreement Tuesday to each advance five large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage projects by the end of the decade. Carbon capture is a nascent and expensive technology that is designed to catch a power plant’s emissions before they could enter the atmosphere, but it hasn’t been deployed at any power plant nationwide.

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The agreement was finalized during Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s meeting with Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua in Sunnylands, California, last week. And it came shortly before Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco.

“The cooperative initiatives outlined by State Department will create make-work for bureaucrats, subsidies for rent-seekers, photo ops for local politicians, and new opportunities for Chinese agents of influence and industrial spies,” Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Marlo Lewis told Fox News Digital.

“The effect on climate change, if any, will be negative, as the ‘cooperation’ will nudge the United States closer to Beijing-style central planning, production quotas, and groupthink,” he continued.

US-China climate talks

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is greeted by top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi before a meeting in the Great Hall of the People on July 18 in Beijing, China. (Florence Lo-Pool/Getty Images)

Overall, while the U.S. is the largest global producer of oil and gas which still drives every major industry from transportation and power to manufacturing and construction, Chinese companies have established a major foothold in green energy markets.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), for example, China produces about 75% of all lithium-ion batteries, a key component of electric vehicles (EV), worldwide. The nation also boasts 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% for anodes, two key parts of such batteries. 

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In addition, more than 50% of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity is located in China, the IEA data showed. Those three critical minerals, in addition to copper and nickel, are vital for EV batteries and other green energy technologies. Chinese investment firms have also been aggressive in purchasing stakes in African mines in recent years to ensure a firm control over mineral production.

China also continues to dominate the global solar supply chain even as Western nations attempt to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities. According to a July 2022 IEA report, China has a greater than 80% share in all the manufacturing stages of solar panel manufacturing. China further produces a staggering 95% of all global polysilicon, ingot and wafer supplies necessary for solar products.

Workers assemble electric vehicles at a factory in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province of China, on March 28. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

“After ESG extremists like Larry Fink met with Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping this week, the Biden Administration reaffirmed its commitment to China to push climate policies that will effectively destroy the U.S. energy industry in favor of green energy initiatives that rely on China’s production of solar panels and batteries,” Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, an advocacy group, told Fox News Digital.

“Consumers are fed up with EV mandates, gas appliance bans, and other climate initiatives the Biden Administration continues to peddle,” he said. “Clearly climate alarmism remains a higher priority to President Biden than ensuring American consumers have access to affordable energy and consumer goods. Consumers’ Research will continue to call out these ideologically-driven policies that hurt American consumers while helping the Chinese Communist Party.”

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While China has established a stranglehold of green energy supply chains, it has also led a massive expansion of coal power to sustain its massive economy. In 2022, the nation permitted a whopping 106 gigawatts of new coal power capacity, roughly quadrupling the amount permitted in 2021, an analysis published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and Global Energy Monitor showed.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, burning coal produces more carbon emissions compared to burning any other fossil fuel. Coal power can have as much as twice the carbon footprint as natural gas.

Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant

Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Shanxi Province, China. The Chinese government permitted the equivalent of 100 new large-scale coal plants last year alone. (AP Photo/Olivia Zhang, File)

China already accounts for about 27% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Rhodium Group. The nation’s emissions output is equivalent to triple the total of the U.S., which is the world’s second-largest emitter.

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“The Sunnylands agreement is nothing more than political sop from Communist China to try to help Biden and Kerry politically, and to keep the America-hurting climate hoax going,” Steve Milloy, a senior legal fellow at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, told Fox News Digital. “The agreement does not bind China to cut emissions or to do anything else of importance.”

“But keeping the climate hoax alive is very important to China for three reasons: 1) climate spending and climate regulations hurt the U.S. economy and help the Chinese economy; 2) mandates for green technology deepen U.S. dependence on China for that technology; and 3) both of the aforementioned compromise US national security and further China’s goal of becoming the lone global superpower by 2049,” Milloy continued.

Fossil fuel power generation produces 60% of U.S. electricity, according to federal data. By comparison, wind accounts for 10% of electricity produced and solar generates just 3% of total electricity. (Getty Images)

And Jason Isaac, the CEO and founder of The American Energy Institute, told Fox News Digital that the agreement was “laughable” since it states China remains committed to the 2015 Paris Accords.

“Not a single country complies with the Paris Agreement, not even France. The Paris Agreement is based on the false premise that CO2, a trace gas that makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere, is causing catastrophic warming,” Isaac said. “It’s not, and China knows it. That’s why the global consumption of coal in 2022 increased by 9%, and China built two coal plants per week to generate affordable, reliable electricity.”

“Xi knows that the grid in America is getting crushed under the weight of a so-called energy transition. Over 80% of our reliable thermal generation from natural gas and coal will age-out in the next two decades,” he added. “Instead of aging out, we need to build new generation more than ever.” 

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“Yet, the current administration is making new, reliable electric generation construction nearly impossible. Biden’s bailout of China has turned our foreign policy to ‘China first, America last.'”

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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