Addressing Green Energy’s ‘Resource Curse’


Policy changes that encourage non-fossil fuel energy means increased reliance on batteries and other technologies that must develop rapidly. This article focuses on batteries, noting that key inputs come from corrupt countries, so little of the benefits of exports flow to citizens, and many key finished mineral products come from China. The United States thereby becomes more reliant on autocratic regimes. Using cobalt as an example, this article looks at the nature of its production, the inability of the United States to shoulder its share of the environmental burden of mineral extraction and refining, and looks to previous examples of countries “cursed” with valuable resources desired by wealthy countries. Hints as to how the “resource curse” problem may be addressed arise from the mineral extraction history of the United States many decades past.