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How Clean Energy Actually Destroys The Environment And Fuels Abuse

By Micaela Burrow

The global drive to replace fossil fuels with climate-friendly energy alternatives has powered demand for rare earth minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines, with major U.S. companies importing rare earths from Asia. In Myanmar, the process of mining these rare earths has produced environmental damage and human rights abuses, an Associated Press investigation found.

Chinese firms took advantage of the exploding rare earths industry until the government in 2012 tightened regulations on domestic mining, both to prevent deforestation from the mines and maintain Chinese reserves to help it stay competitive against the U.S., the investigation, dated Aug. 9, found. In response, the companies moved to mines in nearby Myanmar, where the government-backed militant groups in control allowed them to disrupt local economies and feed global supply chains for eager Western buyers.

“The cash that fuels these abuses ultimately comes from the world’s fast-growing demand for these minerals, driven by the scaling up of green energy technologies,” said Clare Hammond, a senior researcher at Global Witness, told the AP.

Myanmar’s jungle is now pocked by roughly 2,700 mines that have poisoned the country’s rivers, driven away endangered species and destroyed land-based jobs, the AP found. Militant groups in Myanmar seized land from villagers, and revenue from rare earth exports funnels to Myanmar’s junta government that is under international investigation for human rights abuses.

“It reminds me of the European colonial attitudes towards Africa,” a Chinese industry analyst told the AP. “You just can’t be relying on third-world-type mining practices in a dictatorship like Myanmar. It’s not sustainable.”

General Motors, Tesla, Apple, Mercedes and Volkswagen are just a few of as many as 78 companies that source rare earths out of Myanmar, the AP reported. Volkwagen told the AP that it conducted due diligence in making sourcing decisions, and Mercedes said it would reach out to suppliers for more details.

GM told the AP it was planning a shift to U.S.-based suppliers, noting that it “understood the risks” of sourcing rare earths from overseas, and Apple was not aware of any rare earths originating in Myanmar, a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. However, experts told the AP that unenforced or unclear regulations mean buyers cannot be certain of a product’s origin.

“Nothing exists on auditing the Chinese supply chain,” Nabeel Mancheri, secretary general of the Rare Earth Industry Association, told the AP. “Downstream players simply rely on whatever certificate they get from Chinese companies.”

The U.S. has no federal regulatory system for rare earths, unlike “conflict minerals” whose supply lines are often controlled by militant groups, according to the AP. Companies are left to audit their supply chains independently, and many overlook environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.

Global demand for rare earths could balloon up to 700% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, as governments increasingly adopt policies intended to fight climate change. Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7, carving out billions to subsidize electric vehicles that could fuel further demand.

The Department of State, the White House and the Chinese embassy did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

Micaela Burrow is a contributor to the Daily Caller.

Originally published by The Daily Caller. Republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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IT'S BACK: The Heartland Institute's Next CAN'T MISS Climate Conference spot_img
Micaela Burrow
Micaela Burrow
Micaela Burrow is a contributor to the Daily Caller.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The press and the global warming crowd deliberately suppress the fact that ANTARCTICA has had record cold, snow and ice accumulation for decades. Even the last few years, ANTARCTICA cold, snow and ice have hit record numbers. The number of catastrophic hurricanes and tornadoes has dwindled the last couple of decades. The oceans have not risen appreciably other than the normal waxing and waning of ice melt and evaporation cycles. If you try to google it, the first few pages will be pro global warming but when you drill down to the more reputable “scientific” sites it says no global warming. Also droughts, cold snaps, and weather extremes are the rule all throughout recorded history. There are records clear back to the 1400’s verifying this fact. One has to dig for this data because the political and globalists agenda has big-tech, the leftist media, et al working at sequestering real facts as the “Brown Shirts” did for Hitler. Most folks don’t even go past the first page and these hyena Globalists at google know this.

    Lastly, look up the sun-spot cycle which is an eleven year cycle. The weather patterns on earth are affected profoundly by this cycle.

    They try to explain it away with all kinds of mental gymnastics but it doesn’t pass the smell test. Funny one never hears of this, but then again suppression of reality by ideologues is commonplace.

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