What about Peak Rare Earth Metals?

Tree-hugging, hippy-dippy weirdos like to bang on about peak oil. They stuff it down our throats endlessly and then they proceed to bang on about electric cars.

There could be a problem with their insistence on electric cars though. They certainly won’t be telling us about it because it doesn’t fit their world view.

One argument I’ve heard is “national security,” the idea being that electric vehicles would make the United States less dependent on imported oil. Be careful what you wish for, however, because if electric cars become a mainstay, we may be trading one dependence for another that is even more troubling. Ninety-five percent of the world’s output of rare-earth metals today comes from one country: China. By some estimates, demand will outstrip supply within five years. At least with oil we know there are fifty years of oil reserves readily available. Moreover, oil is produced all over the world, limiting the monopoly power of any one country.

Oops…is that peak rare earth metals?

They can stick their wind turbines and g.a.y. Toyota Prius where the sun don’t shine.


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  • cadwallader

    With the development of fracking, there is now the likelihood of gas/oil condensate for another 1000 years. This is before we even reach peak exploration!

  • cadwallader

    PS I’d need chemical castration before being seen driving a Prius.

  • andretti

    Rare earth metals are not really rare,they are very abundant but somewhat expensive to mine.Im in a few RE shares that have been doing particularly well lately.Good old Ausy has plenty of supply.Still cant beat coal shares though, especially since Japan.

  • Since as usual it is the whackos in the Green movement who would have us using wind generated electricity & driving a Prius perhaps the following link should be towards the top of their reading lists. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/business/global/26rare.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

  • abjv

    We’ve got some of them in NZ. And won’t the Greens love this. Canaan. Cape Foulwind. Paparoa, Gillespies Beach, Stewart Island, and in a line roughly from the headwaters of Paringa through to Shotover. They’re probably also a cultural treasure protected under the Treaty.

    Also, an online comment I saw…
    “China’s rare earth industry each year produces more than five times the amount of waste gas, including deadly fluorine and sulfur dioxide, than the total flared annually by all miners and oil refiners in the U.S. Alongside that 13 billion cubic meters of gas is 25 million tons of wastewater laced with cancer-causing heavy metals such as cadmium…”

    Yep, environmentally friendly.

  • andyscrase

    The power source of choice for the Greens, the grotesquely inefficient wind turbine, relies on a rare earth called neodymium for its magnets. This is exclusively mined in China, the only country that is prepared to put up with the environmental devastation that is caused by its extraction.

    This article in the Daily Mail provides some background