Countries around the world, especially America’s top adversary, China, are eager to replicate the success of Pittsburgh’s powerhouse energy industry. The Biden administration’s green agenda is helping them do just that, and at Pittsburgh’s expense.

In the name of fighting climate change and decarbonization, the Biden administration is promulgating a series of rules requiring electric cars and trucks, electric stoves, and use of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.

In March, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency released a final tailpipe rule that would require 70% of new cars sold to be hybrid or battery-powered electric by 2032. In addition, 25% of heavy-duty trucks would have to be electric.

In April, the EPA finalized a power-plant rule that would require most power plants to sequester, or bury, 90% of their carbon emissions or go out of business by 2040.

Biden administration officials claim that these policies are building “America’s clean energy future.” But the truth is that they put China’s Panzhihua—not America’s Pittsburgh—in pole position to be the champions of global energy in the 21st century.

It isn’t complicated. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have vast reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. China, meanwhile, produces almost 80% of the world’s batteries and 80% of the world’s wind turbines and solar panels.

As the Biden administration’s rules move us further and further away from traditional sources of energy and toward a so-called clean energy future, it undermines jobs in places such as Pittsburgh and makes our economy more and more reliant on China.

Pennsylvania Democrats know this. In February, for example, U.S. Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey expressed their shared concern that the Biden administration’s pause on approvals of liquified natural gas export could put Pennsylvania’s 123,000 jobs in natural gas at risk.

On May 7, however, 75 of their fellow Democrats in Washington—influenced by progressive environmental groups—heaped praise on the president’s policy.

Never mind that even if America abandoned all fossil fuels, global temperatures would decline by only two-tenths of one degree Celsius by the year 2100.

The communist government in Beijing is taking a different approach. China repeatedly has stated that it has no intention of going along with the Western push to “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions.

In October 2022, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in an address to the Communist Party Congress: “Based on China’s energy and resource endowments, we will advance initiatives to reach peak carbon emissions in a well-planned and phased way, in line with the principle of getting the new before discarding the old.”

Last summer, when Biden’s then-climate envoy, John Kerry, was visiting Beijing, Xi reiterated that China would set its own path on emissions reduction and not be influenced by outside factors.

But the Biden ad­min­is­tra­tion is de­ter­mined to pur­sue uni­lat­eral en­ergy dis­ar­ma­ment, im­pos­ing bil­lions of dol­lars of costs on Amer­i­cans. All pain for Amer­ica, all gain for China.

If nothing changes, Americans not only will have to buy more Chinese batteries and components, they will also have to pay higher electricity bills and transportation costs. This will, in turn, exacerbate inflation, drive manufacturing offshore, and increase unemployment—lowering growth in gross domestic product and disproportionately hurting the poor, farmers, and small businesses.

Biden’s rush to a green energy future will handcuff America to China, placing vital energy supply chains at the mercy of Beijing. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Members of the House of Representatives have laid out an alternative vision for America’s energy future with legislation called the Lower Energy Costs Act. The plan would lower energy costs, reduce emissions, and increase domestic energy production in places such as Western Pennsylvania.

As House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., put it, enactment of this legislation would “[bring] back critical minerals to America so that we don’t have to be reliant on countries like China.”

Originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette