Governors tell Trump that China will reap low-carbon rewards

Source: By Daniel J. Graeber, UPI • Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Feb. 14 (UPI) — Strong economic powers like China may take over as the global leaders in renewable energy and leave the U.S. economy depending on Beijing, state governors said.

A bipartisan group of state governors working through a wind and solar energy coalition called on President Donald Trump to put his political weight behind the nation’s renewable energy sector.

“If the United States does not continue robust federal research and development programs in wind and solar energy, we will cede leadership in these critical technologies to other nations that have demonstrated ongoing high priority commitments to these technologies, such as China,” the letter read.

The U.S. energy policy under Trump has put the fossil fuels at the forefront, advancing quickly on national oil infrastructure and appointing several key industry leaders to top Cabinet positions. Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is the top foreign diplomat in the Trump administration.

According to the White House, lifting some environmental restrictions could lead to an increase in U.S. wages “by more than $30 billion over the next seven years.” The governor’s coalition countered that the wind energy sector alone has steered $100 billion toward low-income counties in the country.

In their letter, the governors said the United States would forfeit economic benefits from renewable energy to countries like China and would, as a result, become dependent on whatever wind and solar equipment they export.

January op-ed published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency warned the Trump administration was pegging the nation’s economy to energy policies more aligned with a 1950s-era mentality than one for 2050.

Beijing last year issued a developmental white paper that outlined the approach to development under the guidance of the Communist Party of China, saying China is “committed to the concept of environment-friendly development.”