As the planet burns, a new Cold War over critical minerals

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the recent deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest only underscored the dire consequences of continued inaction in the face of climate change. As the second largest contributor to climate change emissions, the increasing incidence and severity of heat waves, droughts, and forest fires should be a clear wake-up call to the United States. Unfortunately, the U.S. has been neglecting low-carbon technologies for decades, and now the raw materials and chemicals needed to build them are almost exclusively controlled by China. If the U.S. wants to get out from under China’s thumb while avoiding conflict, then it must create effective mineral policy by rebuilding innovation capabilities, partnering with industry, and leveraging the government’s role as a market actor. August 11, 2021.