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The US is losing the technological war in the energy field to China

Published:

6 abr 2021 15:40 GMT

The shift towards clean energy sources is highly dependent on the Asian giant.

China has overtaken the United States in investment in renewable energy technologies and has become a supplier rare earth monopolist– Crucial materials for building clean energy systems, according to a new Bank of America report.

The recent document notes that for every dollar spent by Washington to research renewable energy between 2010 and 2020, China spent two, becoming the leading investor in this ambit.

The report emphasizes that we are facing a new climate war, in which China is seeking advantages in dominance over supply chains, carbon-related trade tariffs and manufacturing policies focused on the domestic market.

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According to Bank of America, the development of clean technologies is not simply based on the need to mitigate the effects of climate change, but the main motivating factor is to achieve energy independence and global primacy in the sector.

Since the Jimmy Carter presidency and the oil crisis of the 1970s, the United States has pursued the utopia of energy independence. But the persistent oil crises, severe fluctuations in oil prices, and the global shift toward clean energy have made it obvious that Washington will never get true energy independence relying only on fossil fuels “, points out the OilPrice portal.

Rare earths

Although most Americans believe that, rather than promoting fossil fuels, the government should focus on developing alternative sources For energy, the US faces another problem: It is almost completely dependent on China for the minerals it uses to develop clean energy systems.

China supplies 80% of the rare earth elements that the US uses to make solar panels, wind towers, batteries for electric cars, cell phones, computers, defense systems and medical equipment, among other applications.

The UK fears that China will take advantage of its dominance in the rare earth market to pressure other economies

This leaves Washington in a precarious situation at a time in long-standing tensions between the two nations when a reduction in supplies from China could potentially cripple a wide range of industries in the U.S. Chinese media have repeatedly warned that Beijing is ready to ban the supplies, but the plan has not yet been implemented.

As the trade war has exposed this weak point, Washington has tried to boost investment in the sector, looking for ways to increase its own production of this group of 17 important elements chemicals.

China has produced more than 90% of the global supply of rare earth elements in the last decade, although last year this figure decreased to 71.4%. However, Chinese dominance in this sector could increase as the volume of the rare earth industry is expected to grow from $ 8.1 billion in 2018 to 14.4 billion by 2025, driven by demand for electric cars, cell phones, and microchips.

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