The Green Experiment Disaster: High Gas Prices And Growing Dependence On Russia, China

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High gasoline prices at a Mobil station in West Hollywood
A gas pump is inserted inside an Audi vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, U.S., March 10, 2022.

The green experiment is an ambitious political agenda that seeks to turn the world "green," which means it would be free of pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. So far, the experiment has been a disaster.

The results have been high gas prices, which significantly hurt the budgets of middle-class families and are particularly difficult for the poor. Meanwhile, the U.S. depends on Russia and China for critical resources used in alternative energy production industries.

Turning the world green is a noble goal that should be at the top of the policy priorities of every country. But it can turn costly if it is done hastily and without accounting for natural disasters and geopolitical events like the Russian-Ukraine war. Moreover, it can mean a spike in the price of energy products like gas, a consumer necessity, as has been the case in recent months.

Still, President Biden thinks that "high gas prices are part of an incredible transition," a shift from the previous position of "Putin's gas hike."

The shift in Biden's position comes as no surprise to Juscelino Colares, professor of business law at Case Western Reserve University.

"Candidate Biden promised as much during the presidential campaign when he pledged to issue no new permits to fossil fuel development in federal lands and phase out the existing ones," Colares told International Business Times.

Economists know too well what that means in the short-run: a shortfall in the supply of fossil fuel energy products, which leads to higher energy prices, as alternative sources of energy cannot grow fast enough to satisfy demand.

Meanwhile, alternative energy industries rely on critical raw materials that are expected to skyrocket during the transition, which was confirmed in the report, "The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions."

That’s why Colares thinks that the "Green Energy Transition" away from coal, oil, and natural gas, like the one envisioned by the Democrats, is an expensive proposition. It will cause demand for critical minerals, such as lithium, graphite, nickel, and rare-earth metals, to rise by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900%, and 700%, respectively, by 2040. 

In addition, the growth of alternative energy industries will make the U.S. dependent on China and Russia, major producers of the critical materials used in alternative energy industries.

"Clearly, these minerals cannot be sourced locally [they are mostly found in China, Russia, and the developing world], and the world will face formidable economic, environmental, and social hurdles to become green at the scale the Biden Administration envisions," said Colares. "To that, add the geopolitical risk associated with this transformation (do we want to become even more dependent on China?), and the impact that such a radical increase in demand for these minerals would have on commodity prices, which would impact the overall economy."

In short, the country's high gas problem is policy-made. It began well before breaking the Russian-Ukraine war with the green energy experiment and it will last well after the war ends.

"With global investment and capacity lagging behind Democrat plans, it seems the long-run cost declines in commodities and materials will become a thing of the past, giving way to supply shortages, and, as the President now recognizes, more inflation," said Colares.

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