Democrats say they represent working Americans, but their energy policies tell another story. President Joe Biden’s environmental regulations are focused on slowing development of fossil fuels and promoting electrification, resulting in higher prices for electricity, cars, and gasoline.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is holding hearings to support Biden’s efforts. Last week, I appeared at one, testifying that poor and middle-class Americans are disproportionately paying the price for these energy policies.
The goal of the Biden regulations is to mitigate climate change, described as “an existential threat” by the president in his State of the Union address Feb. 7. But if America’s energy-intensive production and manufacturing, with their associated emissions, are simply displaced to China and other poorer countries, global temperatures will not change.
To comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed rules to regulate auto emissions, 60% of all vehicle sales would have to be battery-powered electric vehicles in 2030, and 67% in 2032. The EPA is considering rules that would make electricity production more expensive by reducing carbon emissions from power plants.
As well as being more costly, electric cars take 45 minutes to recharge; they lose battery range in cold climates. On average, households in the lowest fifth of income distribution have one car, while those in the top fifth have three cars. Families with two cars may have an electric car for short trips and a gasoline-powered car for longer trips, but poor households don’t have that luxury.
These regulations would make new and used cars disproportionately more expensive for poor and middle-class Americans, who can least afford them. And the cost of charging the required electric vehicles would rise too.
To produce the solar panels, wind turbines, and electric batteries demanded by the West, China is increasing its construction of coal-fired power plants. America has 225 coal-fired power plants; China has more than 1,000 (half of all the coal-fired plants in the world).
China has not committed to reducing emissions before 2027.
Research by Kevin Dayaratna, chief statistician and senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, used an EPA model to show that the complete eliination of fossil fuels from the U.S. would result in less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in temperature mitigation by 2100.
Auto workers endorsed Biden in 2020, not knowing that new EPA regulations on automobile emissions would require electric cars. Americans’ auto jobs are being sacrificed to Chinese workers (including slave and child labor) who make batteries and mine for rare earth minerals.
The automaker Stellantis, after closing an Illinois plant in December, recently announced that it would cut 3,500 jobs in Detroit due to its forced transition to electric vehicles. GM and Ford also are laying off workers.
“This is a slap in the face to our members, their families, their communities, and the American people who saved this company 15 years ago,” United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said April 26. “Even now, politicians and taxpayers are bankrolling the electric vehicle transition.”
Requirements for renewable energy mean that Americans’ oil and gas jobs are being sacrificed to Chinese workers who make wind turbines and solar panels, even though wind and solar power produce less than 6% of U.S. primary domestic energy consumption.
As the federal government spends billions on connecting wind and solar to the electricity grid, Americans’ electric bills rise. Households in the lowest fifth of the income distribution spend 10% of their after-tax income on electricity, natural gas, and motor and heating fuels, but those in the top fifth spend an average of 1%.
International aid organizations don’t lend for nuclear energy projects or many fossil fuel projects in emerging economies, with the result that many of the world’s poor remain without reliable electricity, clean water, and sewage systems.
Poor Americans are paying the price for Democrats’ plans to transition away from fossil fuels in the name of a cleaner environment. Americans in general are paying more for cars and electricity, and losing their jobs.
But global emissions won’t be reduced if industrial production leaves America and sets up in China.
This commentary originally appeared in the Daily Caller
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