From supply chain security to solar panels to semiconductor chips, American politicians are rightly focused on the growing economic and national security threat posed by China.
China’s tentacles stretch far beyond traditional business practices.
Just look at its influence over American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), particularly in the world of environmental activism, where the Communist regime’s investments are increasing steadily every year.
One of the best examples of this is the Ceres organization, a non-profit organization that raises and spends millions of dollars per year, allegedly to support a green agenda.
As of 2018, Ceres received $5 million in funding from the Energy Foundation — a generic-sounding organization that oddly has well-established links to the Chinese government. The group has likely received substantially more since the last reporting date.
The Energy Foundation manages a subsidiary called the Energy Foundation China whose president and CEO, Ji Zou, is a former Chinese official who worked under the Communist government’s National Development and Reform Commission.
Zou has also represented China on a number of international panels, including the Paris Agreement and the United Nations.
By taking money from groups with strong links to China, Ceres opens itself up for criticism that the group’s priorities may be focused more on appeasing donors than on environmental causes. The group certainly takes different approaches toward the United States and China.
For example, Ceres has not been shy in attacking American companies nor the American government. Earlier this year, the group’s president and CEO said the U.S. "has dragged its feet" on forcing companies to measure and report their climate change risks.
The group has also regularly pushed activist shareholder resolutions that call for more "sustainable" business practices — imposing heavier costs on American companies.
At the same time, Ceres has regularly touted China and lauded the Chinese government for its environmental work even though the country emits more greenhouse gases than the rest of the developed world combined.
Just last year, a Ceres blog post encouraged investors to look for opportunities in China, which the organization said has "pursued policies that drive innovation and investment in clean energy, electric transportation and reducing toxic waste."
While some may argue the importance of any environmental work being done in China, the fact is that China’s interest in environmental policy has little to do with environmental concerns. Although China participates in international environmental accords, the country frequently relies on a dubious "developing nation" status to avoid taking meaningful action.
The truth is, as in most other things they do, China’s environmental interests only go as far as the country’s economic interests.
By creating environmental roadblocks for western companies — as Ceres is helping it do — China is in reality helping its own state-owned companies that won’t be required to play by the same rules by which Americans companies are bound.
China is also interested in positioning itself as a continued power in the new “green” marketplace over American companies.
Thanks to more than a decade of heavy government subsidization, China controls about 80 percent of the world’s solar manufacturing supply chain. In addition, roughly half of the world’s supply of polysilicon, an essential ingredient in solar panels, comes from a region of China that is reportedly home to a vast network of internment camps.
From reported human rights abuses to their status as one of the globe’s biggest polluters, there is plenty to criticize when it comes to China and its environmental record.
Therefore, the question is: why isn’t Ceres doing it?
If they were truly committed to the environment, they would ask more questions rather than serve up platitudes. Perhaps the funding that the group receives from pro-China groups like the Energy Foundation guides its agenda and which policies it promotes?
Unfortunately, many are left to wonder if now, more than ever, environmental groups are more interested in chasing "green" cash, than "green" policies.
Jennifer Kerns is host of the new nationally-syndicated show, ''All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns.'' Read Jennifer Kerns' Reports Here.
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