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Where Unicorns Grow

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Lefties, Greenies, and the current President tout a new “green” economy as a solution to today’s dysfunction. Escaping the carbon cycle will save the polar bears. Eliminating fossil fuels will clear the air and cut the legs out from under “evil regimes” that “don’t like us very much”.

We’re being manipulated and coerced into spending huge sums of borrowed money on a raft of unproven ideas aimed at taking the U.S. toward a vision of blue skies and unicorns.

It sounds beautiful. Until you look into the details behind the technology that will drive the Clean Energy Economy:

Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths. The world’s dependence on these substances is rising fast.

Just one problem: These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs.

Western capitals have suddenly grown worried over China’s near monopoly, which gives it a potential stranglehold on technologies of the future.

“This industry wants to save the world,” said Nicholas Curtis, the executive chairman of the Lynas Corporation of Australia, in a speech to an industry gathering in Hong Kong in late November. “We can’t do it and leave a product that is glowing in the dark somewhere else, killing people.”

Chinese mines are the farms where the unicorns of the green economy grow. It’s only “green” because the brown and black parts are safely ignored, half a world away.

There is, however, a slight improvement for those who want to reduce U.S. dependence on evil regimes. Once oil is burned, it is gone. The metals endure. Even longer than the debt incurred to buy them.