Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sino-American renewable energy trade war

Benny Peiser has sent us - subscribers of his GWPF mailing list - some articles about a newly emerging trade war between China and America. This civil war inside the de facto Sino-American currency union is kind of incredible.

Let us start in the "good old days" before the trade war. As The New York Times recall, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as one of the top 3 U.S. producers of solar panels. It was a source of pride for Deval Patrick and other socialist politicians of Massachusetts.

They have paid something between $43 and $58 million (it was a typo, thanks!) in subsidies - cash that was stolen from the sensible Massachusetts taxpayers and/or wittingly donated by the brainwashed ones. The idea has always been that it's great to waste money for this stuff because it will be making a better world in the distant future.

In reality, of course, such companies and projects belong among the most ephemeral and kitshy activities that people are doing these days. Within three years, the company decided to move its production to China whose socialist government can waste even more money - much more easily stolen from the Chinese workers - than the U.S. government. Moreover, the standard advantages of cheaper labor add to the reasons.

China is doing what the green politicians and activists in America have always wanted: it is actually supporting alternative energy sources. Because they're not profitable - instead, pretty much by definition, alternative energy sources lead to a financial loss - the Chinese government has to pay for that. Isn't it exactly what the green activists wanted? Isn't it the only way how it could take place?

China is also subsidizing wind turbines. In this way, it is sharing the burden in the transition to the renewable energy that the green people - including those in the Obama administration - have defended for years. What is the answer of America? Well,
US targets China’s wind subsidy.
America has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization. I kid you not. That's how Obama's administration cares about the transition to the renewable energy sources in the world.

Needless to say, the reaction is irrational from any viewpoint. If you think that it's a good idea to move away from the fossil fuels and to waste money for sources of energy that are not profitable at the present and that are at risk of remaining unprofitable for years or decades, then you should praise China and criticize America for making the transition harder.

If you're a sensible person who thinks it's stupid to waste the money for unprofitable forms of energy, but you may imagine that the energy may become profitable at some point in the future, then you should thank China that it is wasting its own money and not the American money. When they develop better technologies which will no longer require subsidies, they may be used for free - essentially in the whole world. Even if China wanted to prevent their achievements by patents, it won't be able to enforce them.

The only logic in which the lawsuit makes any sense is the logic of a debauched politician who wants to feel better by wasting a maximum amount of money from their constituents. Indeed, if you're such a politician in America, it's bad if unprofitable companies are moving to China because you will have no companies to waste your constituents' money for and you will feel weaker.

America is attacking not only Chinese wind turbines. It also attacks the Chinese solar industry - which will be extended by Evergreen Solar, as we have mentioned. For example,
Pentagon cannot buy Chinese solar panels anymore
Try to decide whether these countries could co-operate in a hypothetical project of lowering CO2 emissions if they can't even agree that both countries are allowed to waste subsidies for solar panels and wind turbines that only produce a few percent of the electricity these days. These subsidies for the actual production of current, unprofitable products are actually about the wasting of the money. But imagine how the countries could agree about positive money.

In the current perverse world, however, it's much more devastating for a politician if he loses a channel by which he can waste his taxpayers' money. If he - more precisely, his constituents - actually lose the money, instead of gaining them, that's not so bad for a politician. The poorer his constituents, the better for the politician. That's how many politicians think because those politicians who think in this disgusting way haven't been liquidated by the voters efficiently enough.

The hypocrisy and fake symbols of morality have penetrated so deeply into the politics and even the life of many ordinary people that the politicians no longer realize that they should try to save the money of their taxpayers in order to preserve or improve their well-being. Instead, they must be convinced that their eligibility increases with the amount of money they waste. Or do they always get a percentage from the money that is wasted? Glenn Beck and others have surely presented some evidence that it may be the case.

Reuters describes the possibly looming trade war from the German perspective. The Wall Street Journal just wrote about the solar power eclipse in general. Pierre Gosselin and TAZ (Germany) mention that 30,000 jobs have been lost in Spain since 2008, as a result of the photovoltaic fiasco.

Couldn't the politicians in sensible countries, please, agree that the alternative energy sources are already getting so realistic that they should be left to the invisible hands of the free markets and they should receive no subsidies? And couldn't the politicians kindly agree that China and any other country has the right to waste the money it earns? Because it's China's fault that doesn't hurt anyone else? China is clearly earning lots of money because its workers are working hard. Don't they have the right to decide what they spend the money for?

The Chinese leadership can spend a big part of the money produced by its workers - it's about its internal, socialist system, and by the way, when it comes to "green investments", America is not too different these days. Even if we agree that subsidies are bad, America has no credentials to criticize or even sue China.

Thanks to Benny Peiser

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