The U.S. government plans to invest $386 billion in renewable energy, e-cars and battery technologies, and state-of-the-art green hydrogen industries. It is the largest amount of government money ever invested in eco-technologies by any country.
This is expected to reduce Americans’ CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. Is this a policy “with the ecological crowbar” as the Süddeutsche Zeitung suspects or what the Western leading power simply owes to the environment and humanity?
A possible ecological economic miracle for the USA
U.S. President Biden has a clear ecological goal: His administration wants the U.S. to become the world’s number one power in climate-friendly, green technologies. This makes ecological sense and is necessary, while at the same time strengthening the American economy and creating millions of sustainable jobs, as Biden had already announced in his election campaign. A possible ecological economic miracle for the USA.
Until 2010, Germany was a pioneer in ecological technologies, since then China and now the USA want to become eco-world champion. Finally, says the eco-heart. And finally, say the environmental associations. But for the EU Europeans, there’s a catch.
President Biden links his country’s eco awakening with a twofold call to his countrymen: “Buy American and organic.” Europeans fear competitive disadvantages vis-à-vis the U.S. economy. Many future-oriented companies in Europe could migrate to the U.S. because of favorable conditions and the lure of cheap government tax money, and with them hundreds of thousands of jobs. This could also become a problem, especially for Robert Habeck, Germany’s Minister of Economics and Climate Change: On the one hand, as a green minister he welcomes eco-investments in the U.S., but on the other hand, as economy minister, he is worried about jobs and companies in Germany. So what to do? In addition, Biden’s plans are said to violate the World Trade Agreement.
German industry expresses concern
German industry is also concerned. The BDI fears massive advantages of the U.S. colleagues and a wave of migration of German companies to the United States. President Trump had already fought against the European economy with his “America first” policy, it is heard, and now President Biden could become a “green Trump.” The French government is also concerned. President Macron already fears a “trade war” between the EU and the U.S. because of huge government subsidies for a green economy in the U.S. and accuses competitors across the Atlantic of “aggressive” economic policies – to the detriment of Europeans.
Germany has left solar and wind energy to China
The German automotive industry could also run into problems. It missed the development of electric cars by at least a decade. It took Tesla and the Chinese and Japanese car companies to wake up the German laggards. Catching up in a key industry like the auto economy in Germany is hard. That’s why it was a huge mistake on the part of the federal governments to have left the expansion of solar and wind energy to China since 2010. Around 150,000 jobs have thus migrated to the Middle Kingdom. And today, Germany has to import 95% of the solar systems it installs here from China, even though most of the technology is German. This is how political mistakes take revenge.
So how can the looming trade war over green technologies be stopped?
Europeans should not whine that the U.S. has finally woken up ecologically after Trump, but rejoice and act themselves. At least 100 large solar factories must be built in the EU as soon as possible, so that after energy dependence on the fossil czar Putin, a new dependence on imperial China or arch-capitalist America does not emerge.
Macron and Biden have just decided at their meeting in Washington to do everything to avert the threatening eco-trade war. As early as next Monday, a commission between the EU and the U.S. is to discuss how this should be done. Indeed, another trade war would only have losers – including the environment. Don’t put the brakes on the Americans ecologically or accuse them of a policy with the “ecological crowbar”, but invest more in eco-technologies yourself: That should be the goal of the Europeans.
Finding a reasonable balance between economy and ecology is the most important and at the same time most difficult task of national and international politics in the 21st century.
Franz Alt 2022 | Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)