Since the days of President Jimmy Carter and the 1970s oil crisis, the United States has relentlessly pursued the utopia of energy independence. But persistent oil crises, severe oil price shocks, and the global shift to clean energy have made it glaringly obvious that Washington will never achieve true energy independence by relying solely on fossil fuels.
But as the shift to clean and renewable energy gains serious momentum, the United States is now facing another conundrum: It’s almost completely dependent on China for the minerals it uses to build clean energy systems.
China is a rare earth monopoly, supplying 80% of the rare earths elements used by the United States in the manufacture of solar panels, windmills, electric car batteries, cellphones, computers, national defense systems, medical equipment, and even in oil and gas technologies.
That leaves the country in a particularly precarious position. Further, the U.S. is about to start keenly feeling China’s stranglehold on the industry now that Biden is about to ascend into the Oval Office and possibly implement his ambitious Green Deal.