Clean energy materials from dirty places
May 31, 2021 11:10 a.m. ET
Regarding the May 21 letters responding to my May 12 editorial “Biden’s Not-So-Clean Energy Transition”: one states that I “paint in broad strokes” on the mining risks associated with the supply of minerals necessary for the plans to ‘green energy, claiming that the environment and labor abuse that’ may ‘exist in’ some countries’ (put aside that is not ‘can’, they are widely documented) would not occur in US mines because of our regulations and standards. True, but not important. The magnitude and speed of demand for “clean energy” minerals to meet administration aspirations will necessarily come from imports because new mines in America could not be opened quickly enough – even if that were the plan.
The Biden plan does not support any national mining to meet the gigantic green material needs. You can’t build green machines if someone else isn’t digging. As for the International Energy Agency’s claim that my summary was “erroneous and incomplete”, they do not dispute the facts (I used their data), proposing instead not to list their ” six “key policies” actions that would “guarantee” the world will have enough minerals. These “actions” are only aspirations, in particular: a “global international framework for dialogue and coordination of policies between producers and consumers”, “the intensification of R&D efforts”, the need “to explore a range measures to improve the resilience of supply chains ”and ensure“ adequate investment in diversified sources of new supplies ”. The United States will not be one of those sources.
This IEA report observed that if miners “wait for deficits to show up before embarking on new projects, it could lead to a prolonged period of market stress and price volatility.” Translation: High prices and supply shortages for consumers and importers of minerals, especially the United States
Chevy Chase, Md.
Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8