The relationship between China and the US is commonly portrayed in terms of geostrategic competition, often leading to pessimistic accounts of international cooperation. This, in turn, glosses over important institutional innovations and joint efforts around shared concerns on climate change and the clean energy transition. As the shift towards renewable energy accelerates demand for transition energy metals, such as lithium, nickel, and rare earths, how will resource consuming regions, including the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Korea, navigate their relationship with China and the larger developing world, which hold these mineral deposits and are likely to exercise sovereign control over natural resource management?
Political support for renewable energy has undoubtedly increased over the past 10 years, but this has yet to translate into concrete political solutions—not only because of technological limitations in switching to renewables, but also due to increasing conflicts around critical minerals. Not only do we see geopolitics and securitization of minerals as an obstacle, there are also issues on ecological justice and equitable distribution of environmental burdens that hamper cooperation between mineral producers and consumers.
Join us on March 9th to examine the challenges, policy options, and strategic diplomatic alliances needed to minimize confrontation in order to realize individual national commitments and climate emission reduction targets. The discussion will also focus on ways shifting geopolitical alliances are likely to impact prospects for cooperation and specific national initiatives to embrace clean energy.
Associate Director, Trivium China