I could not resist a "quickie" on this one.
"Rare earths, a class of metallic elements that are highly reactive (er ... no - many are not. ed), are essential for the next generation of 'green' technologies. The battery in a Toyota Prius car contains more than 22lb of lanthanum. Low-energy lightbulbs need terbium. The permanent magnets used in a 3 megawatt wind turbine use 2 tons of neodymium and other rare earths."
So says The Sunday Times.
And the biggest source of these elements is China, where they are mined in the most appalling conditions, causing significant pollution and untold human misery ... all so rich Westerners can prattle on about their green credentials and how they are saving the planet. And there is no realistic alternative to China – they have the biggest deposits.
But, asks Mark Smith, chief executive of Molycorp Minerals, a US mining firm, "If the purpose of putting hybrid vehicles on the road is to lower our dependence on foreign oil, and all we're doing is buying cars that need Chinese rare earth materials, aren't we trading one dependence for another?"
Indeed we are. But as long as the sanctimonious little Greenies get their feel-good factor out of it, why should they care? Doesn't the Boy Cameron have a Prius, by the way?
Back to Afghanistan. Sigh!