Critical Raw Materials Act: a good start, but sharper safeguards and global thinking is missing to make it work
(Transport and Environment, 28 Apr 2023) The Commission's draft strikes a good balance between environmental safeguards and the need for a quick ramp-up of supply. However, improvements are needed.
Critical metals is the current buzzword around the world. Energy transition at scale and speed is impossible without more of everything from copper to lithium.
China is ahead of Europe. We can have a debate on whether they got there fairly, but we should also recognise our role in letting this happen.
China started building a domestic electric car market and investing in batteries early. The European auto and oil industries were instead pushing first diesel, then plug-in hybrids and now, e-fuels. (The latter do not even exist commercially, and yet risk derailing Europe’s e-mobility transition).
But Europe is still in the game. Our lead in offshore wind, the booming investments in battery factories and a growing electric car fleet (every seventh car sold today is electric) all mean we have the market to attract the critical metals industry, from processing to recycling.
Transport and Environment, 28 Apr 2023: Critical Raw Materials Act: a good start, but sharper safeguards and global thinking is missing to make it work