Opinion Biden offers hot air on wind turbine imports

15:15  10 may  2021
15:15  10 may  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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It is somewhat worrying when the president of the United States publicly displays his ignorance. But that's exactly what Joe Biden did in his speech to Congress the other week.

a small boat in a body of water © Provided by Washington Examiner

"There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing. No reason. None. No reason."

First off, there's simple ignorance of not understanding that some wind turbines are actually built in Pittsburgh. And the ignorance that almost no turbines are built in Beijing for installation in America. That's because they're too large and difficult to transport. As various government reports do point out, blade manufacturing is largely domestic.

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We know what Biden means, of course. Which is that things should be built at home rather than imported. A better example for the president to have used would be the magnets inside the wind turbines. These generally are made in China.

Biden's claim is one of ignorant economics. There is a reason that we buy imports; they're the entire purpose of trade, the point being to gain access to those things that foreigners do better, or cheaper, or faster, than we do. This makes us richer because we now have that import, plus some more money or resources to go and do something else, something additional.

This is especially important with respect to climate change. The Stern Review was the report for the British government that laid out, proved, the case for doing something about climate change, probably the most important part of which is that we must use the cheapest method of doing said something. The logic is irrefutable: We humans do less of the more expensive things and more of the cheaper things. Therefore, if we use expensive methods of dealing with climate change, we'll actually do less climate change prevention. If we use cheaper methods, then we'll save the planet more, or save more of the planet.

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Thus follows the rationale for our producing some part of wind turbines, even if not the blades, in Beijing rather than in Pittsburgh. It's the same reason we have trade at all, to make ourselves richer by gaining access to those things that foreigners, even if they are Chinese, do better, cheaper, or faster than we do. Exactly because these Chinese products are cheaper we will achieve more climate change prevention by using imports.

Given that we are trying to save the planet, this does seem fairly important.

Tim Worstall (@worstall) is a senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Joe Biden, Biden Speech, Wind Energy

Original Author: Tim Worstall

Original Location: Biden offers hot air on wind turbine imports

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This is interesting!