Biden and Boris: The bad news bears

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is comfortable working with Joe Biden on climate change issues. At the United Nations Johnson days ago praised Biden’s promise to double the U.S. contribution to imposing climate rules on developing nations, remarking that, “It’s fantastic to see the United States really stepping up and showing a lead.”

But is Johnson an equal or just taking orders? Consider Jen Psaki’s complaint that Johnson was guilty of insubordination by taking questions from the British press at the end of a joint White House meeting. Johnson’s capitulation to Biden’s radical Net Zero ideology is harming his standing with fellow Tories whose pleas for leniency on climate controls are falling on deaf ears.

Nor is Johnson swayed by the cries from Parliament that Biden sold out Britons in Afghanistan and that Biden is ignoring horrific human rights violations by the Chinese. Just weeks ago, Parliament censured Biden for his “shameful” cowardice that left many Britons in Afghanistan at risk and left Johnson “humiliated.”

In the wake of the Kabul collapse, one UK cabinet member lamented that America is “looking inward and is unwilling to do even a modest amount to maintain global order.” While affirming that the U.S. remains by far the UK’s “most important ally,” the cabinet minister sadly recognized that “we are not Washington’s most important ally by some stretch.”

China in March made it clear to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that there can be no criticism of their human rights abuses. To Biden, fighting the elusive bugbear “climate change” is so urgent that governments must abase their own citizens while ignoring the burdens of Uighur slaves and Africans living in darkness.

Biden ally Nancy Pelosi admitted that ignoring Chinese human rights atrocities is a cheap price to pay for Chinese cooperation on climate change. Biden climate czar John Kerry similarly shrugged his shoulders, proclaiming, “Life is full of hard choices.” Calling out China for genocide against the Uighurs is a trigger that would stop climate cooperation cold.

Are Johnson and the UK also about to abandon their support for human rights in hopes that China will follow up on its pledge to withdraw support for overseas coal plants? China is home to 23 of 25 cities that belch over half of the world’s urban CO2 emissions. But is that okay, now that President Xi Jinping claims China is willing to forego building foreign coal plants?

Back in January Johnson’s government imposed sanctions on China for human rights violations. In March, Johnson stated he was “standing firmly” in support of Britons sanctioned by China for speaking up for abused Uighurs. Less than two weeks ago, both houses of Parliament banned the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom from their chambers.

America’s founders, building on human rights theory dating to the Magna Carta, proclaimed that the primary purpose of government is to secure fundamental individual rights and that governments must operate with the consent of the governed in ways that protect the ability of citizens to determine their own futures.

In acquiescing to the Marxist view that humanity exists to serve the state, Biden is turning the raison d’etre that had driven Western thought for centuries on its head. Increasingly, Western political actors are willing, even eager, to quash freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and even thought as they forge a tyrannical juggernaut.

This perverted viewpoint enables Johnson to ignore or brush off concerns raised by fellow Tories and the British public that their nation is in clear danger of economic collapse unless their government relaxes his draconian restrictions on energy. According to Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, rising prices will leave 500,000 more British households (4.5 million in all) in energy poverty.

After a lengthy freedom of information fight, Britons learned that former Prime Minister Theresa May lied to the British public by understating the true cost of switching to a carbon-neutral (Net Zero) economy by 2050 by a whopping 40 percent. May’s minions had stated the cost at US$68.5 billion a year, but internal Department of Business documents revealed the true estimate of US$95.9 billion annually – or a total of US$1.75 trillion through 2050.

Just one of Johnson’s schemes for cutting carbon dioxide emissions involves forcing people to abandon natural gas heating and purchase a total of 600,000 electric heat pumps – which cost up to three times as much and often require additional electric wiring and insulation. The plan to end natural gas use runs up against the reality of 23 million UK buildings connected via 176,500 miles of natural gas pipelines.

Johnson proposed to issue 60,000 grants of US$9,600 each for heat pump conversions – far below the real costs for working class families. To push the envelope further, Johnson envisioned a new tax on natural gas that would also hurt the working class and poorer Britons. Johnson even refuses to scrap environmental fees that add up to 25 percent to electricity bills, saying the hikes are “temporary.”

Johnson’s intransigence on these measures has raised the ire of fellow Tory MPs and energy firms, who recognize that high gas prices, already up 70 percent from just a month prior, are causing chaos for British industries. Even London Mayor Saddiq Khan, a Labour Party member, has begged Johnson to ensure that vulnerable customers are protected from price rises. 

Up till now, like his buddy Joe Biden, Johnson appears unfazed by the impending disasters despite his rapidly declining popularity. His strict adherence to Net Zero timetables is damaging the UK economy, bringing higher living costs, fewer jobs, and potentially forcing people to choose between food and fuel.

At least in Europe, and even Johnson’s UK, wiser heads are swallowing their green pills and turning back to coal to keep factories running and people from freezing this winter. Not so Joe Biden, who is doubling down on riding the climate horse. One example: His $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program would impose steep, punitive fines on utilities and companies using natural gas.

Former EPA general counsel Samantha Dravis warns that the growing European energy crisis, a byproduct of Net Zero policies, foreshadows what may happen as the Biden Administration continues his carbon purge. To true believers and “green” profit-seekers behind Biden’s throne, any deviation from the master plan would wreak havoc on their quest for wealth and power.

Some wonder whether the climate excuse is merely a smokescreen to cover up for unscrupulous business dealings that profit the politically connected. Politico just verified older new reports that the Biden and Kerry-Heinz families have profited from extensive financial investments with Chinese entities. Is China using money and blackmail to push the West into energy insanity?

Human rights violations, narcissistic virtue signaling, impoverishing citizens and developing nations alike are of no concern to the Chinese, or to the world carbon police, who put building an all-powerful state far above human needs. But it should matter to Americans, Britons, other Europeans, Uighurs, Afghanis, Africans, and others worldwide who will be hurt the most by the Net Zero schemes – all of which empower China and weaken everyone else.

  • Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas. A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, "Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout."

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