California Climate Policies Only Empower China

California Climate Policies Only Empower China
Solar panels sit above the Solar Grove parking lot at the Kyocera Plant in San Diego, Calif., on June 24, 2005. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
John Seiler
California politicians and influencers like to boast how the state is “poised to become the world’s fourth biggest economy.” Yet they obviously remain ignorant about what’s really going on across the globe. Consider this story in the liberal-progressive Financial Times, hardly a bastion of conservatism: “China’s dominance of solar poses difficult choices for the west: The unpalatable truth is that green technologies mean we will have to find ways to co-operate with Beijing.”
Well, maybe we wouldn’t have to “co-operate” if we had sensible polices here in California and the rest of America, instead of a peristaltic “green obsession.” The article is by Graham Allison, a professor of government at Harvard University and author of “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”
I’ve described this dominance in previous articles in The Epoch Times. Allison writes: “The vast majority of the solar panels on which the world will spend more this year than on oil will come from just one nation. China manufactures 80 percent of all the solar panels produced globally. And, as the IEA notes, China’s dominance is even more pronounced when one examines the entire supply chain. It produces 85 percent of the global supply of solar cells, 88 percent of solar-grade polysilicon, and 97 percent of the silicon ingots and wafers that form the core of solar cells.”

That means: 97 percent of the solar market is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

Solar panels in Temecula, Calif., on Nov. 24 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Solar panels in Temecula, Calif., on Nov. 24 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Allison continues: “Both the US and Europe have pledged to cut emissions in half by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050. To achieve these goals, the lion’s share of these emission reductions will have to come from the shift from hydrocarbons to solar power.” In California, it’s even more ambitious: 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

He notes the United States has levied tariffs and sanctions on China, as well as giving $100 billion in subsidies to the U.S. solar industry, “But the impact on China’s growing global market share has been limited. ... While it is painful to recognize and may be politically unacceptable to say so, the brute fact is that in solar, as in other green technologies including electric vehicles, the west’s green future will be red.” As in Chinese Communist red, not the “red” U.S. Republican Party.

Allison says the threat of climate change is so dire, “To ensure their own citizens’ survival, the leaders of these nations will have to find ways to co-operate alongside the imperative to compete.”

Attacking American Energy Independence

But there’s an alternative: Realize the climate doomsayers are wrong and go back to depending on carbon energy. In which the U.S. is independent—or was in 2020, before the Biden administration bottlenecks were imposed—and make that energy as “clean” as possible. But California, in particular, is doing the opposite.
On June 26, the state imposed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s so-called “windfall-profits” tax on oil companies. Which, as I explained in The Epoch Times, only would hit the state’s consumers. The companies’ “record” profits Newsom decried were only the mirror of the record losses during the COVID-19 lockdowns, which under his policies were especially draconian in this state. The new tax will also discourage oil companies from maintaining their refinery plants, leading to breakdowns that will cause shortages, which in turn will bring higher prices.
An oil refinery displays an American flag in Wilmington, Calif., on Sept. 21, 2022. (Allison Dinner/Getty Images)
An oil refinery displays an American flag in Wilmington, Calif., on Sept. 21, 2022. (Allison Dinner/Getty Images)
Newsom gloated: “California is delivering on our promise to hold Big Oil accountable. These new transparency laws will help us track refiners’ profits and shine a light on price manipulation so Californians aren’t vulnerable to the greedy whims of Big Oil. And this is just the start—we’re standing up the nation’s first Big Oil watchdog to monitor the industry 24/7, rooting out illegal price gouging in real-time to help you keep money in your pocket.”

His website added: “Compared to 2022, California’s gas prices have been substantially lower and less volatile. The Governor’s actions have helped lead to a decrease of $1.50 per gallon, year over year.” And provided this graph:

(Screenshot via Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)
(Screenshot via Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

What a con job. Does anybody believe this? In 2022, the global energy sector was disrupted by the Russia-Ukraine War, including President Biden’s embargo on Russian oil. You can even see that in the graph, which shows a price spike beginning in early March, just days after the Feb. 22 invasion of Ukraine.

And nowadays it’s easy to compare the state’s gas price to that in other states by going to Here’s their current map, showing California’s prices more than 50 percent higher than in cheaper states:
(Screenshot via
(Screenshot via

Of course all this really is intended to encourage Californians to get out of their gas-guzzlers and into electric cars—which use electricity increasingly derived from solar panels made in China. Here’s a chart I made from data from the California Energy Department:

Who Controls the Chips Controls the World

Finally, who is going to control the computer microchips that control the solar grid? Why, the Chinese companies that make the solar panels. And all these companies, of course, have close connections to the CCP, or even are owned by it in whole or in part. The Chinese understand this.
In 2019, two Chinese scientists presented a paper on such chips to the 4th International Conference on Energy Equipment Science and Engineering. They were Qin Li and Haidong Liu, both of the Institute of Intelligent Manufacturing, Panzhihua University, in Panzhihua, Sichuan province. The paper was titled, “Design of Solar Energy Automatic Tracking Control System Based on Single Chip Microcomputer.”

To increase the efficiency of the solar panels, they wrote, “This paper designs a biaxial solar ray automatic tracking system, which combines sun-path tracking with photoelectric detection tracking. When the system is running, the weather condition is judged by photosensitive resistance at first. ... The single chip computer controls the rotation of the horizontal and vertical stepper motors after program calculation. In this way, the biaxial automatic tracking of solar panels is realized. Practice shows that, the tracking system can continuously improve the utilization rate of solar energy, and high tracking accuracy, it has strong practical value.”

I’m not a computer security expert. But what are the chances these chips have “back doors” that allow control from China? What happens if, during a crisis over Taiwan or some other place, the back door allows the solar panels to be shut down? How does California operate if a large part of solar production is cut down? How does America operate?

As this state and nation race toward almost total reliance on Chinese solar technology, I don’t see anyone taking up this question. And even if we wanted to, it would take decades to develop a major U.S. solar industry to displace even 25 percent of the panels needed for the federal and state governments’ ambitious renewables goals.

In history, no major country ever has given over such major parts of its infrastructure to a rival—until now. Even as we still have deep sources of reliable, locally sourced energy: oil and natural gas. Giving our energy future over to China is not a necessity, but a choice. Why is this happening?

John Seiler’s email: [email protected]
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is [email protected]
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