Policymakers in the United States are focused on a renewable energy transition despite the geopolitical and economic risks that emerge from a lack of reliable and cheap power sources.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the supply chain bottlenecks that characterize the global economy following worldwide lockdown mandates have contributed to a rapid increase in worldwide energy prices. China has therefore approved coal-fired power plant construction initiatives at six times the rate of every other nation combined, while Europe has reluctantly restarted operations at mothballed coal-fired plants amid the loss of fuel imports from Russia.
Members of the Biden administration, on the other hand, have contended that rising energy costs and supply shocks show that officials should accelerate a transition toward renewable sources. “The real truth is that as long as our nation remains overly reliant on oil and fossil fuels, we will feel these price shocks again,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said last year.
The phenomena have revealed a number of flaws with energy policy in Western nations, particularly the U.S., according to West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore.
“I think energy independence is of paramount concern. I’m sure the Europeans right now wish that they had that with their dependence on the Russians,” Moore told The Daily Wire. “In a country like Germany, now you’ve seen their utility rates go through the roof. They’ve put themselves in that position. We don’t want to be in that position.”
China has meanwhile surpassed both the European Union and the U.S. in terms of carbon emissions, according to data from the International Energy Agency. The largest share of new carbon emissions arose last year from the remainder of Asia, more than doubling the rise in emissions from the U.S. and canceling out emissions reductions in Europe.
Moore observed that aggressive renewable energy policies enacted in recent years by American lawmakers, including the $369 billion in climate funds approved by the Inflation Reduction Act last year, are incapable of neutralizing the higher emissions from the developing world. “Two-thirds of all the carbon emissions in the world are in Asia,” Moore said. “We are a raindrop in an ocean as it relates to this, so we’re chasing policy that is only at the end of the day hurting the average American citizen.”
Businesses in the U.S. have nevertheless struggled to access capital for new projects related to fossil fuels, especially as investment banks and asset management companies adhere to the tenets of the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, also known as ESG. Several financial institutions have committed to initiatives under which executives vow to move portfolio companies toward eliminating net carbon emissions.
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Moore noted that West Virginia is at a mere 30% capacity with respect to natural gas production because there is insufficient pipeline infrastructure to export the material to global markets, even though the fuel burns cleaner than other fossil fuels. “We have an ocean of natural gas in West Virginia,” Moore said. “Everybody who loves Ukraine and wants to help and support the Europeans who were previously relying on Russian gas, we cannot export enough gas over to them because we cannot get the gas to ports.”
Beyond asserting that nations such as China are better equipped to mobilize their militaries and increase weapons manufacturing in the event of a global conflict due to their willingness to use fossil fuels, Moore noted that American energy policy has long overlooked the considerable “human flourishing” enabled by inexpensive and reliable power.
“Consistent and cheap energy is something that you obviously need. As it relates to energy in this country, we’re disarming ourselves unilaterally,” he commented. “All of this is just self-inflicted wounds that we have done to ourselves and tied our hands in our ability to be a net exporter and to support our allies. We are diminishing our own economic power and influence.”