Electric cars and solar cells rely on Chinese minerals. Here’s how to curb the risks. – by Editorial Board (Washington Post – August 25, 2023)


The U.S. transition to cleaner energy technology is underway, supported by new incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. Benefits to the planet could be significant. Yet so could the geopolitical risks to the United States.

Moving from fossil fuels to wind and solar power means shifting from reliance on resources the United States produces to reliance on imported ones. And for many of the materials — lithium, nickel, copper, cobalt — the United States’ long-term adversary China is a key producer, processor or both.

To cite one example: China dominates rare earth elements, crucial inputs for green technologies (and defense systems). In Last month, Beijing moved to limit exports of two such elements, gallium and germanium, probably as a response to Washington blocking Beijing’s access to advanced technology that the United States and its allies control.

The United States has designated 50 “critical” minerals; it needs a strategy to secure global supply chains in them. The Inflation Reduction Act took an initial step, in the form of domestic content rules for electric cars.

For the rest of this editorial: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/08/25/china-critical-minerals-climate-change-batteries/