In this post Rien discusses the paradox that pervades so much of the high tech and cleantech world; the world that is supposed ot bring us a green and clean future free from the polluting industries of the “old” industrial paradigm. AND yet, so much of cleantech (and high-tech) depends in often critical ways on rare earths. Rare earth mining and refining is a very dirty business that has lead to some pretty horrible pollution, mainly in the Chinese regions in which it is mostly sourced from. This post focuses on a major new refining operation that Australian mining giant Lynas is trying to open in the country of Malaysia; an operation that is being opposed both by Malaysian activists and by some Australian Green Party activists as well. It forces us all to ponder this paradox and ask ourselves just how green is the green economy?
A new study that is sure to create some controversy proposes that the world can provide for all of its energy needs, including electric, transportation, heating/cooling energy needs using only wind, water, and solar power by 2030.