Geopolitics of Green Energy

November 18, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 39
Will some smaller countries become new power brokers?
By Edward DeMarco

Introduction

The postwar, U.S.-dominated geopolitical order shaped by oil is yielding to a new system built on carbon-free renewable energy and electric vehicles. In the emerging international scramble for so-called green energy, China is leading, with its control over many supplies of minerals essential for batteries, wind turbines and other technologies. China is also key to addressing climate change because its coal-powered economy creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions than any other country. To counter China, the United States is rallying allies and friendly mineral-rich countries to forge alternative supply chains that can enable green energy industries to scale up. And, faced with Russian aggression in Ukraine, Europe is shedding energy ties to Moscow and expanding its domestic wind and solar power sources. Clean hydrogen may also create new energy powers — from Australia to Chile and Africa — as industrial demand for fossil-free energy surges. Competition extends into the Arctic, where retreating ice is spurring the hunt for green energy minerals. While the transition will take decades, the rules of the game are being set now — in Beijing and Washington.

Aerial photo of windfarm in Klettwitz, Germany, on November 1, 2022. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
The oil-dominated geopolitical order is changing as countries embrace carbon-free energy sources to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. That transition has produced tensions, in part due to the need for rare earth minerals used in clean energy technologies, such as these wind turbines and solar panels near Klettwitz, Germany. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Energy
Jan. 13, 2023  Energy Warfare
Nov. 18, 2022  Geopolitics of Green Energy
Nov. 12, 2021  Clean Energy Transition
Jul. 19, 2018  Energy Policy
Aug. 02, 2017  Energy Policy
Nov. 11, 2016  Protecting the Power Grid
Apr. 29, 2016  Solar Energy Controversies
Jun. 05, 2015  Energy
Dec. 16, 2011  Fracking Controversy
May 20, 2011  Energy Policy
Apr. 01, 2011  Wind Power
Jul. 24, 2009  Energy and Climate
May 19, 2006  Energy Efficiency
Feb. 01, 2002  Energy Security
May 25, 2001  Energy Policy
Mar. 03, 2000  Energy and the Environment
Mar. 05, 1999  The Politics of Energy
Oct. 12, 1990  Energy Policy: Options for the 1990s
Jan. 30, 1981  Energy Policy: The New Administration
May 25, 1979  Public Confidence and Energy
Apr. 05, 1974  Continental Energy Sharing
Dec. 29, 1965  Electric Power Supply and Regulation
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Regional Political Affairs: Africa
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Regional Political Affairs: Europe
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Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Renewable Energy Resources and Alternative Fuels
War and Conflict
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