In his drive to achieve absolute power, Vladimir Lenin could count on Western progressives and opportunist executives to serve as “useful idiots.” Today’s most prominent Communist, China’s Xi Jinping, can count on similar help, this time from the West’s environmentalist, corporate elites.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the alliance of green non-profits and their oligarchic backers, whose demands for a quick evolution toward “net zero” emissions are quickly undermining the last vestiges of Western competitiveness. And the winner in this “energy transition” is China, which, oddly enough, produces more greenhouse gases than the entire developed world put together.
Of course, China plays lip service to climate goals. But it’s building scores of new coal plants and plans to expand natural gas and nuclear power, both anathema to America’s hardline greens. Not content to spew greenhouse gases at home, China is also building coal plants around the world as coal consumption hits a historic high.
China has maneuvered itself into an enviable position of doing as it pleases while its biggest competitors unilaterally disarm. Green groups have long taken money from Chinese interests as well from Russia, which has cynically backed efforts to curb the West’s production of natural gas. As Robert Bryce has demonstrated, green non-profits—what he scathingly dubbed “the anti-industry industry”—received well over four times as much as those advocating for the use of nuclear or fossil fuels in 2021.
Nor do they lack for influence. The big names behind the green agenda include a who’s who of oligarchs and inheritors: billionaires like Tom Steyer, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, as well as powerful foundations like Rockefeller, Doris Duke, Walton, MacArthur, Hewlett, and George Soros‘ Open Society, which have sent hundreds of millions to leading environmental groups. Jeff Bezos in 2020 alone announced $10 billion in gifts, mostly to green non-profits.
And all this money is being spent to aid China in its existential struggle with the West—much more than to aid the environment.
China already enjoys a growing market share in manufactured exports roughly equal to the U.S., Germany and Japan combined, and green policies seem poised to push China’s industrial supremacy even further, making energy both more expensive and unreliable. This is accelerating the de-industrialization of Germany, including its natural-gas dependent, world leading chemical industry.
With the adoption of electric vehicle mandates including a ban on gas cars, Europe seems determined to destroy one of its last areas of excellence in favor of technology that is almost entirely controlled by China and other east Asian countries. As for the U.S., the majority of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan is based around green infrastructure rather than manufacturing itself, with the big winners shell companies who sell things like wind turbines exclusively made in China.
The truth is obvious to anyone paying attention: The electric future embraced by the Biden Administration and the EU will be a China-dominated one.
Read the rest of this piece at Newsweek.
Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.