In a new piece for RealClearEnergy, John Adams, U.S. Army brigadier general (ret.), argues that the newly proposed Inflation Reduction Act, negotiated by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) is not only the most ambitious climate bill in U.S. history, but also represents an opportunity to bolster our nation’s economic and national security.
General Adams points to the fact that the energy components of the package, in his words, “do far more than just tackle emissions.” In his view, the provisions aim to “use the energy transition to rebuild the nation’s industrial base and ensure that the energy and transportation jobs of tomorrow are American jobs.”
The package would require that by 2024, 40% of the minerals used in EV batteries would have to be extracted, processed or recycled in the U.S. or by a free trade partner — a requirement that increases to 80% by 2027.
General Adams believes that the sourcing requirements for the battery “criticals” contained in the package — lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite — are key to addressing “emerging energy security vulnerabilities before they are intractable crises.”
He credits Sen. Joe Manchin, who believes that “trading the ugly geopolitics of petro-dictators only to sleepwalk into complete dependence on a battery supply chain dominated by China is a mistake the country cannot make,” for zeroing in on the threat Chinese dominance of critical mineral supply chains poses to the nation’s energy security.
Followers of ARPN well know that our clean energy future hinges on massive critical mineral inputs, and demand projections for the battery criticals, but also key clean energy metals like copper, are on an ever-high trajectory. Meanwhile, our import reliance for critical minerals is significantly up from decades ago and has shown no signs of decreasing in the past few years, with China having cornered not just the extraction, but also the processing segment of the supply chain.
As General Adams closes:
“China has worked diligently to turn mineral supply chains into an economic leg up but also an enormous source of geopolitical leverage — not unlike how Russia has leveraged its energy trade with Europe. What Senator Manchin recognizes is that our energy future is on a collision course with our mineral insecurity and China’s mineral dominance.
The mineral sourcing requirements in the reconciliation bill – coupled with other incentives to encourage domestic mining, mineral processing and recycling– are precisely the bold measures needed to address this alarming vulnerability. This legislation is a critically important leap forward to build the secure, responsible industrial base our economy and national security needs.”