The View From 1776
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Little Green Lies
Believing the mythology of green jobs and green energy, as well as the canard of energy independence, requires the one-dimensional mind of liberal-progressivism. If an untruth makes one feel good, that’s enough to sustain worshipful support by left-wing do-gooders.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, even the DOE quietly admits the truth.
‘Energy Security’ Mythbusters
Green energy increases reliance on foreign sources.
Remember how one advantage of green technology would be to make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy? Oops. A Department of Energy report released last month to little fanfare inadvertently blows this idea away.
The “Critical Materials Strategy 2010” represents DOE’s effort to understand how green energy technologies depend on rare earths. Those are the minerals at the bottom of the periodic table whose unique properties make them indispensable in many high technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels.
As the world recently realized, more than 95% of these minerals are sourced from China. Because of the environmental problems associated with extracting them, most countries where deposits exist have discouraged mining. The two most promising non-Chinese sources are mines in Mountain Pass, California and Mount Weld, Australia, and it will take years to bring them fully online.
China has been taking advantage of its rare-earth monopoly. Late last month it announced a 35% cut in its export quota, and that follows a previous quota cut of 72% last year. Export taxes on some rare earths also rose on January 1, to 25% from between zero and 15% depending on the element.
The reasons for these actions aren’t fully clear. Beijing may be cracking down on illegal mining that creates pollution problems. But politics might also be at play, as with the apparent suspension of shipments to Japan following a maritime territorial dispute last year.
Hence the DOE’s concerns about rare earths and green tech. As the report notes, “[s]everal clean energy technologies