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US Energy Policy: Walking the Geopolitical Tightrope

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The United States faces a strategic dilemma.  The US wishes to transition from fossil fuels, seeing a clear linkage between continued large-scale use and climate change.  However, the US also does not wish to handicap its energy fueled economy, nor empower hostile and/or repressive regimes that control critical commodities in the process.

The dilemma has two faces.  The first appears as the US reduces its domestic fossil fuel production, empowering Russia and Saudi Arabia.  The second appears as the US moves to so-called “renewable” sources, which require the mining of relatively rare minerals to build batteries and other key components.  Many of these minerals are controlled by China, either via mining or refining.  So the United States faces geopolitical risk of empowering authoritarian states, both in its oil-based energy present, and its renewable energy future.