By Tim Gamble
The push is on to develop the so-called Green Economy of alternative energy, sustainable development, sustainable consumption, and low carbon emissions. This new economy is supposed to stop climate change, be much more environmentally friendly, solve resource scarcity, and be generally "fairer" to all peoples. Of course, the reality is that the green economy is a naïve and idealistic dream that will accomplish none of these things. In this article, I want to look at one (of many) particular reason the green economy is not a good idea, and in fact is the equivalent of national suicide for the USA and European nations: Rare Earth Metals.
What are Rare Earth Metals
Rare Earth Metals, also called rare earth elements, are a set of 17 soft heavy metals with many applications in electronics, lasers, magnets and magnetic materials, certain engine types, batteries, and other industrial uses. Rare Earth Metals are especially critical to the green economy, alternative energy, and electrical vehicles. Experts agree that the need for Rare Earth Metals will skyrocket as we transition to the Green Economy. However, mining for Rare Earth Metals is extremely destructive to the environment, and many are toxic. Not exactly "environmentally friendly."
But the real danger of Rare Earth Metals to the USA and Europe is not really their environmental problems, but rather their location. Take a gander at this chart:
- China - 44 Million Metric Tons
- Vietnam - 22 Million Metric Tons
- Russia - 21 Million Metric Tons
- Brazil - 21 Million Metric Tons
- India - 6.9 Million Metric Tons
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