China Has Near Monopoly On Green Tech's Key Ingredients

GlobeTracker| Smart people see two major problems associated with new technologies tied to products as diverse as electric cars and energy-efficient electric light bulbs. 

This abandoned mine in Guyun Village in China exhausted the local deposit of heavy rare-earth elements in three years. Via Thomas Lee for NYTimesThe rare metals that make possible these technologies come almost exclusively from China. Western capitals — including the US military — are suddenly worried over China’s near monopoly on key ingredients in tomorrow’s green technologies.

The scarred Chinese earth that produced the metals represents the worst possible vision of environmental damage. And the consequences of China flexing its muscles in delaying shipments of these rare metals to the US could be almost catastrophic.