Between rocks and hard places: critical minerals, climate change and the future of globalization

2021 finds us in the midst of a pandemic and a growing appreciation that the climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time. Plans to become carbon neutral by mid-century have been announced by major economies making decarbonization urgent.  This major transformation requires unprecedented amounts of minerals as inputs and some are considered especially… Continue reading Between rocks and hard places: critical minerals, climate change and the future of globalization

Critical Minerals and the New Geopolitics

The tension between the geographic concentration of vital metallic elements and the increasing scramble to secure them will further unsettle geopolitics in the twenty-first century. Rich-country governments must now follow China's lead and build new avenues of trust and cooperation with developing countries...

Rare earths: A catalyst to geopolitical realignments.

The current rare earths crisis is not a stand-alone event. In 2010, the elements captured both international headlines and the attention of policymakers and industry globally when a geopolitical incident between China and Japan revealed how the world had grown almost exclusively dependent on China for rare earth mining, processing, production, and export. Prices skyrocketed,… Continue reading Rare earths: A catalyst to geopolitical realignments.

Rare Earth Geopolitics: A case of Economic Statecraft?

Obscure though they have been in the past, rare earths represent some of the most precious enabling elements for the operation of high tech, renewables, and defense technologies, everything from smartphones and medical technologies to wind turbines, energy efficient lighting, smart bombs, and submarines. While they are not particularly "rare" in availability, they are difficult… Continue reading Rare Earth Geopolitics: A case of Economic Statecraft?