The world's next resource conflict

BERLIN, Feb. 22 (UPI) — The next resource conflict could be about minerals and rare earth elements needed to fuel the green economy, as China, which supplies most of the minerals, is considering limiting exports.

There is great hope for a green boom to transform the CO2-heavy world economy into one that is less dependent on fossil fuels and more sustainable. Experts envision solar panels and wind turbines to produce clean power and heat and electric cars to cruise tomorrow’s roads.

The problem with these technologies is that they rely on minerals and rare earth elements, or REEs, which are produced by politically unpredictable countries, including China.

The market for REEs — needed for hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels and defense industry products such as missiles and radar systems — has tripled in size over the past decade.

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Published: Feb. 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM
By STEFAN NICOLA, UPI Europe Correspondent


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