The Changing Geopolitics of Critical Minerals and the Future of the Clean Energy Transition
The relationship between China and the US is commonly portrayed in terms of geostrategic competition, often leading to pessimistic accounts of international cooperation. This, in turn, glosses over important institutional innovations and joint efforts around shared concerns on climate change and the clean energy transition. As the shift towards renewable energy accelerates demand for transition energy metals, such as lithium, nickel, and rare earths, how will resource consuming regions, including the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Korea, navigate their relationship with China and the larger developing world, which hold these mineral deposits and are likely to exercise sovereign control over natural resource management?
Political support for renewable energy has undoubtedly increased over the past 10 years, but this has yet to translate into concrete political solutions—not only because of technological limitations in switching to renewables, but also due to increasing conflicts around critical minerals. Not only do we see geopolitics and securitization of minerals as an obstacle, there are also issues on ecological justice and equitable distribution of environmental burdens that hamper cooperation between mineral producers and consumers.
Join us on March 9th to examine the challenges, policy options, and strategic diplomatic alliances needed to minimize confrontation in order to realize individual national commitments and climate emission reduction targets. The discussion will also focus on ways shifting geopolitical alliances are likely to impact prospects for cooperation and specific national initiatives to embrace clean energy.
Environmental Change and Security Program
The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy. Read more
China Environment Forum
Since 1997, the China Environment Forum's mission has been to forge U.S.-China cooperation on energy, environment, and sustainable development challenges. We play a unique nonpartisan role in creating multi-stakeholder dialogues around these issues. Read more
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our Africa Up Close blog, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more
The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region. Read more
Global Europe Program
The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media. Read more
Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders. Read more
Wahba Institute for Strategic Competition
The Wahba Institute for Strategic Competition works to shape conversations and inspire meaningful action on strengthening the technological, economic and infrastructure underpinnings required for America and its allies to deter aggression and secure a global rules-based order. Read more