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No Problem Is Too Big … For America

By Greg Kozera - | Jun 23, 2021

Three major events happened this week. We got to spend time with our youngest son and his family at Gatlinburg, TN. We shared a condo and got to hug all four grandchildren including our son and daughter-in-law. Thanks to the pandemic we appreciate hugs even more now. On my first morning run, I ended it at Starbucks and heard the barista say three words I haven’t heard since March of 2020… “Room for cream?” I was finally able to put my own cream in my coffee. Later we had a great family dinner at a restaurant with a salad bar. I can’t recall the last time I saw one of those. Since we were all vaccinated we didn’t need a mask all week even at Dollywood.

Politics aside. Here is a thought to ponder. I had to show my driver’s license to be able to buy a beer at a dinner show this week. There are people who believe we shouldn’t need to show an ID to vote. Hmmm. Lynnda commented to the waitress, “You know he likes to think you believe he still looks young enough to card.” We didn’t see many deer in Tennessee but we saw 3 black bears in the wild.

All but a handful of West Virginia counties are green this week. This without extended lockdowns. Even Maryland, where my son lives, the governor ended the state of emergency and all mask mandates on July 1st. My friend in New York City is now traveling for business. Fighting the pandemic has taken people working together at all levels to get it under control including individual Americans. We have had and still have disagreements. We also learned a lot. One of the things Americans do well is come together in a crisis. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. Politics or people and groups with their own agenda can slow things down but ultimately, we the people using common sense prevailed.

We also had a big business event this week. Shale Crescent USA was on Plastic News Ask the Expert live stream on Wednesday. The first two sessions we did in April and May focused on how U.S. manufacturers can be more profitable and reliable. Wednesday’s program focused on sustainability and Green or Clean Manufacturing.

Green manufacturing has been defined as the renewal of production processes and the establishment of environmentally friendly operations in manufacturing. It is process based. Workers use fewer natural resources, reduce pollution and waste, recycle and reuse materials and moderate emissions in their processes. Manufacturers develop or utilize new technologies and practices to lessen the impact on the environment. In addition to all of this, manufacturers still must be profitable. Shale Crescent USA’s research shows U.S. manufacturers can be Green/ Clean, more profitable AND go head to head with China and WIN! Many are doing just that already.

Our imports from China have been constantly increasing since 1985 as per U.S. Government statistics. Currently we are importing $500B per year in products from China. These products are made with coal generated electricity that is dirtier than U.S. coal fired power plants. The feedstock for the plastic and petrochemical based products comes from OPEC Middle East Oil that is shipped to China on an oil tanker burning bunker fuel that has to travel 7,000+ miles. The finished products are shipped 12,000 miles to the USA on a container ship that burns dirty bunker fuel. They are then railed and trucked another 2,000+ miles to our region. This is over 21,000 miles of transportation. This is not green/clean manufacturing for Asian companies making the products and for U.S. companies selling them or using them as part of their supply chain. Products made in the USA with U. S. energy and feed stock and consumed in the USA have an average of 500 miles of transportation using much cleaner fuels than bunker fuel.

In the last 15 years Chinese emissions have gone from 5.8 GT in 2005 to 11.5 GT in 2020. During the same period U.S. emissions fell from 6.1 GT to 5.1 GT in 2020. The USA added 1.4 million new manufacturing jobs since 2010 and still reduced emissions. We shouldn’t blame the Chinese. We enabled them. We are choosing to buy $500B in products from China every year because we think they were cheaper.

We allowed our high wage jobs to be exported. We know that China is building an additional 184 coal power plants to power their industry. We shouldn’t blame them. They have an abundance of coal and are using it. We know China’s emissions are continuing to increase. We have voted with our wallets to allow this to happen. We also have the power to stop it.

U.S. manufacturers are close to their consumers. They have an energy and feedstock advantage. They have advanced manufacturing processes that reduce labor costs making them more competitive. They now have environmental advantages especially if they are using other regional or North American companies as suppliers. If we are serious about climate change and cleaning up the planet shouldn’t we not only support but demand U.S. manufacturing. A certain athletic shoe manufacturing company makes lot of their shoes in China. This is fine for supplying the Asian market but not the U.S. market. What if American consumers chose not to buy their shoes? We can use wind and solar where they make sense but only if they are manufactured in North America where they have the lowest carbon footprint.

American companies and entrepreneurs are developing some incredible new technologies and processes to manufacture cleaner and more efficiently especially in the area of recycling and reuse. I will share these technologies with you as permitted.

Americans beat the pandemic and the energy crisis. Working together we can create a cleaner world and a vibrant economy with good jobs. Never under estimate American ingenuity. Anything is possible.