How the ‘Greens’ Could Upend the Green Dream – by William F. Shughart II (Independent Institute – June 24, 2021)

There is growing concern among some commentators and experts that the United States has become “dangerously dependent” on imported minerals and metals and that such dependence is hampering the development of clean energy technologies. The concern is real.

But the reason the U.S. is dependent on foreign producers, many of them competitors and adversaries, is not that many of the world’s mines are owned or controlled by China and Russia but that government policies supported by radical “green” interest groups have blocked the development of adequate domestic supplies of these raw materials, which are essential to the green dream of a “net zero” fossil fuel future.

Consider, for starters, lithium, one of the metals used in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. As I write, environmental groups are blocking the development of a new lithium mine in a remote part of Nevada, arguing, among other things, that the mine would harm the habitat of an endangered desert plant, Tiehm’s buckwheat.

The demand for lithium and other battery metals, such as copper, cobalt, graphite, and nickel, is large and growing. The International Energy Agency projects that global lithium demand is set to explode fortyfold by 2040 just to keep up with the electrification of transportation.

The demand for other metals critical for solar panels, wind turbines, and other environmentally friendly green technologies is expected to soar as well.

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