“Something does not come from nothing. That fact can be easily forgotten when it comes to seemingly abstract concepts like ‘energy,’” writes Angela Chen in a new piece for technology news and media network The Verge. Chen zeroes in on four key metals and minerals that have become indispensable components of green energy technology – Neodymium, Copper, Lithium and Cobalt. She writes:
“As the climate change crisis worsens, more politicians are starting to underscore the importance of transitioning to clean energy. More clean energy means more solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and large-scale batteries. But it also means more demand for the materials that make those technologies possible.”
If this sounds familiar to followers of ARPN, it’s because it is. Discussing 21st Century technology and its backbone – i.e. the metals and minerals underpinning it – we have previously argued
that: “You need ‘stuff’ to make ‘stuff,’ and that “[i]t’s time to remind ourselves that life as we know it is made possible by the inventive use of metals and minerals. Smart phones, the Cloud, the Internet: These things may seem to work by magic, but quite often the backbone of high-tech is mineral and metal, not fairy dust.”
It is an important reminder that has so far been largely ignored in the context of the hotly-debated Green New Deal, revealing an inherent irony of 21st century environmentalism. As we pointed out last week
“If we want to make the transition to a green-tech and clean energy future, we will continue to rely on critical minerals – which is why current efforts to formulate a comprehensive mineral resource strategy should be a precursor to any serious discussion on this matter.”
It is critical to have this conversation now — as underscored by a recent Congressional hearing
during which Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Industrial Minerals and member of the ARPN panel of issue experts, alerted U.S. Senators to the fact that the U.S. is already falling behind in one key green energy area – battery technology and energy storage. Moores called the U.S. a “bystander”
in the current battery arms race.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski agreed, and called
the United States’ growing reliance on mineral imports our “Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.”
“Over the past several years, our committee has sought to call attention to our reliance on foreign nations for minerals. The administration has taken several important steps, but we must complement their actions with congressional legislation.”
Here’s hoping that they do.