NEW YORK — For decades, a group of the world’s biggest oil producers has wielded enormous influence over the US economy and the popularity of US presidents through their control of the world’s oil supply, with decisions from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries determining who Let’s say that American consumers pay at the pump.
As the world moves towards cleaner energy sources, it is still possible to control the materials needed to power it.
China dominates the global processing of important minerals currently in high demand for making batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. In an effort to gain more power over that supply chain, US officials have begun negotiating a number of agreements with other countries to increase US access to critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite.
But it’s not yet clear which of these partnerships will be successful, or whether they’ll be able to generate anything close to the mineral supply for a wide range of products, including electric cars and batteries to store solar energy. Estimates of the United States’ requirement for ,
Meeting in Hiroshima, leaders of Japan, Europe and other advanced nations agreed that the world’s reliance on China for more than 80 percent of mineral processing leaves their countries vulnerable to political pressure from Beijing, which China supplies in time. Has a track record of weaponizing chains. Clash.
Last Saturday, leaders of the Group of 7 countries reaffirmed the need to manage the risks posed by vulnerable mineral supply chains and build more resilient sources. The United States and Australia announced a partnership to share information and coordinate standards and investments to build more responsible and sustainable supply chains.
“It’s a big step, from our perspective, a big step forward in our fight against the climate crisis,” President Biden said of signing the agreement with Australia on Saturday.
But figuring out how the United States will have access to all the minerals remains a challenge. Many mineral-rich countries have poor environmental and labor standards. And while G7 speeches emphasized alliances and partnerships, rich countries are still essentially competing over scarce resources.
Japan has signed an important mineral deal with the United States, and Europe is negotiating it. But those regions, like the United States, have significantly higher demand for the vital mineral than current supply to power their own factories.