Category: China

As the planet burns, a new Cold War over critical minerals 8/11/2021

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.

5 ways to boost clean energy investment in developing economies 6/29/2021

5 ways to boost clean energy investment in developing economies

Payne Institute Fellow Bradley Handler, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Michael Hayes write about how for emerging and developing economies to meet their energy development and net-zero climate goals, tens of trillions of dollars in investment will be required. This is significantly more than can be expected to be raised from public funds alone, and thus private capital must provide the difference. Yet there remain many obstacles to the deployment of private capital in clean energy projects in emerging economies, as they can impose additional risk and cost and thus dampen investor interest.  June 29, 2021.  

Third-party auditing won’t solve US solar industry’s Xinjiang problem 6/25/2021

Third-party auditing won’t solve US solar industry’s Xinjiang problem

Payne Institute Fellow Cullen Hendrix writes about how the US solar industry is justifiably concerned about the US government’s hardening stance on China’s human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (henceforth Xinjiang), a key supplier of polysilicon used for making the photovoltaic cells used in solar panels. In response, the industry is looking to third-party auditing and verification as a way of ensuring its supply chains aren’t tainted by forced labor. Unfortunately, this approach is unlikely to be effective in China’s repressive media and information environment.  June 25, 2021.  

As US aims to boost clean energy supply chain, critical minerals gap largely human-caused, analysts say 6/17/2021

As US aims to boost clean energy supply chain, critical minerals gap largely human-caused, analysts say

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee contributes to this article about supply chain issues. There is no shortage of rare earth minerals needed to transition to a clean energy economy, however, the problem is getting them out of the ground — and out of China.  June 17, 2021.  

Governments have identified commodities essential to economic and military security 3/31/2021

Governments have identified commodities essential to economic and military security

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert and Director Morgan Bazilian contribute to this article about obtaining critical minerals necessary to break the U.S. dependence on foreign production. The U.S. Defense department will help facilitate the building of facilities to process rare earths, part of an effort to secure supply independent from China.  March 31, 2021.

Rare Earths 101: Digging Up the Facts 12/22/2020

Rare Earths 101: Digging Up the Facts

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee is interviewed on this podcast regarding his research of rare earth minerals, a group of 17 chemically similar elements that are durable, have a variety of modern uses, and are essential components of many renewable technologies. Lee expands on why the costs and environmental impacts make mining rare earths a challenging proposition, and how China has come to dominate the market in a way that other nations may struggle to replicate.  December 22, 2020. 

Indicators of Electric Power Instability from Satellite Observed Nighttime Lights 9/30/2020

Indicators of Electric Power Instability from Satellite Observed Nighttime Lights

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group writes about how electric power services are fundamental to prosperity and economic development. Disruptions in the electricity power service can range from minutes to days. Such events are common in many developing economies, where the power generation and delivery infrastructure is often insufficient to meet demand and operational challenges. Yet, despite the large impacts, poor data availability has meant that relatively little is known about the spatial and temporal patterns of electric power reliability. Here, we explore the expressions of electric power instability recorded in temporal profiles of satellite observed surface lighting collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) low light imaging day/night band (DNB). September 30, 2020.