Bishop Garrison, co-founder and president of the Rainey Center, together with associate fellow for energy, David Gargaro, have authored an op-ed in Just Security where they discuss how the United States can combat problems that the presidential hopefuls identified in the recent Democratic debates: China and climate change. They explain,
Democratic and Republican leaders alike have increasingly realized the degree to which China poses a threat, not only in security terms but also economically and technologically. The energy field is a prime example. China has already set in motion an unparalleled financial investment in green technology. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, China is now the world’s largest producer, exporter, and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electric vehicles. Further, China maintains hundreds of thousands of patents on renewable energy technology, with approximately 29 percent of the world’s total patent registrations as of 2016. At the same time, China has invested heavily in African mining infrastructure in an effort to dominate mineral markets that are crucial for future technology manufacturing and development.
In addition to being the world’s current largest producer of green energy technology, China has “hatched an ambitious plan to sell upwards of 30 nuclear reactors by 2030.”
Because of this, Garrison and Gargaro argue that the imperative to address climate change is becoming a national security threat, in addition to an environmental one. The authors identify ways the United States can combat climate change and become less dependent on China. They argue,
The government needs to truly focus investment on this field and on the associated research and development necessary to surpass China’s efforts. Fortunately, Congress now is openly discussing global warming and its effects, in part because the Pentagon has raised the specter of the impact on military operations. That creates an opportunity for all the 2020 presidential candidates to address the climate crisis as both a national security and economic issue. In addition to advancing global security and addressing climate change, green technology research and development, not to mention manufacturing and services, could generate more jobs for Americans.
You can read the entire op-ed here: One Key Instrument to Confront China and Climate Change