Those developing and manufacturing low-carbon technologies have to face the possibility of running out of the necessarily materials to keep going, according to experts. The reason? China's patriotism reducing the amount of REEs available to everyone else.
REEs (Rare Earth Elements) are essential to the manufacture of low-carbon technology, due to the unique properties of those particular 17 metals. 97% of the world's supply of REEs comes from China, who are seeking to clamp down on exporting the metals, despite increasing demand. According to sources reporting to the Independent newspaper in the UK, China may go as far as halting export of two metals altogether by next year, and focus on processing only REEs enough to meet domestic demand by 2012. The result? Calls to reopen closed mines across the world, and trade organization authorities closely monitoring developments... and a worry that a necessary technological revolution will be halted by a nationalistic emphasis on supply and demand.
Concern as China clamps down on rare earth exports [Independent.co.uk]