by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s latest climate-focused executive order promises a bustling clean energy sector backed by “good-paying union jobs.” That sector’s supply chain, however, is largely dominated by China.
Issued on Wednesday, Biden’s order calls on the federal government to purchase union-built, American electric vehicles. But both Chevrolet and Nissan’s top electric offerings fall well below the federal government’s domestic “component test” to determine American-made status, and Ford’s latest electric SUV, the Mustang Mach-E, will be built in China and Mexico. China also controls much of the world’s lithium battery supply, including 77 percent of global cell capacity and 60 percent of global component manufacturing, a September BloombergNEF report shows.
Biden climate envoy John Kerry, meanwhile, suggested Wednesday that disgruntled oil and coal workers could simply find new jobs in the solar sector. The clean energy industry’s reliance on foreign markets and companies extends to solar energy. China controls roughly 60 percent of the industry’s total supply chain and manufactures 75 percent of the world’s polysilicon—a raw material used to make solar cells—according to research firm Wood Mackenzie.
The White House did not return a request for comment.
China’s grip on clean energy means that Biden’s push for a green American economy will likely benefit the Communist nation, sparking national-security concerns among Republican lawmakers. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon that Biden’s “radical” climate actions will “kill jobs and increase our reliance on China.”
“The national-security implications here are incredibly concerning. These Green New Deal-style mandates will constrict America’s energy independence—something all Americans fought hard to achieve over the last few years,” McMorris Rodgers said.