October 2, 2022

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What Scholz’s trip to Canada tells us – Corriere.it

A new energy war has begun, the visit of the German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Canada proves it. Italians are concerned Pouring into the bills And the incoming electricity ration should closely follow the movements of the largest European economy. Germany It’s not just about helping out Natural gas prices are going crazy With its stock accumulation policy; It also looks into the future. It is doing today what should have been done twenty years ago.

The next Italian government risks being delayed, while others already have a mortgage on future potential. Scholz’s work in Canada dealt with several themes: news was the main focus Natural gas and hydrogen supply. But the game of strategic importance is more interesting Lithium procurement and other rare minerals Batteries The German car industry will need more if it is to fulfill its transition plans to “all-electric” ranges. Note the coincidence with the notice California – Largest US market and an important outlet Made in Germany The sale of petrol or diesel cars should be banned from 2035 onwards.

Canada plays an important role in the great geostrategic game over rare earths and other minerals or metals such as lithium. Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of this challenge is talking nonsense “Continuous Change”. They certainly got it Mercedes Benz and VolkswagenSignatory on the occasion of Scholz’s work Agreements with Canadian partners To ensure access Nickel, Cobalt and LithiumThere are three essential components to batteries.

Let’s go back chronologically Natural gas It was the first item on the agenda for Scholes’ work in Ottawa. The German government seems to be more concerned than the Italian government Shortage and already planned electricity ration for autumn-winter Reduces up to 20%, factory closures, reduced hours for stores and shopping centers. It was an opportunity to travel to Canada Negotiating LPG supply In one of the major global manufacturers.

Canadian Prime Minister’s response Justin Trudeau No consolation. There is Canada Lots of gas but in “the wrong places”.. Fields and export infrastructure (terminals, equipped ports), center of gravity on the west coast, far from Europe. There are plans for that Building new terminals on Canada’s Atlantic coastSo facing Europe, But it will take years to be prepared. On the other hand, it’s pretty normal: until very recently Major buyers of LPG are Asia, China, Japan and Korea. In part they still are. This reminds us that The current energy crisis did not arise from the war in Ukraine.

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One A twenty-year history of energy shockChinese consumption is closely linked to growth, and has been temporarily cushioned or overshadowed by some contingencies (2008 recession and pandemic limited consumption; US shale oil and shale gas extraction boosted supply). Europe has not “seen” this crisis for twenty years.And because it is partially mitigated Supply agreements with Russia that limit pricesBut with huge geopolitical costs. The era of cheap Russian gas is over Forever and Scholes draws conclusions. A visit to Ottawa confirmed that There are no easy shortcuts.

All global infrastructure for moving liquefied gas from large production centers (USA, Canada, Qatar, Australia) to consumption areas is under terrifying stress. Gas is abundant, but far from those who need it And it’s not easy to move. Tankers carries it Book for months: Only one “LNG Tanker” (ie a tanker for liquefied natural gas) is still available for pan-Asia charter within the next two months; Not free in Europe. Inventory from a year ago 47,000 dollars for the US-Europe route Now they have risen to 64,000 and in the period from September to November they will be $ 105,000. After all, it lacks capacity. Shipyards building new tankers are inundated with requests: South Korean song than number one in the world It will not accept new orders until 2027.

This situation could worsen in the fall if China is forced to increase natural gas purchases. Recently Chinese energy consumption has declined, coupled with a slowdown in economic growth. Now Drought affecting China weakens hydropower generation, and rationing measures have already been taken in the Chongqing area (the country’s largest metropolis of 30 million people). Shortages of electricity produced by the dams could force Beijing to return to strength in the natural gas market, helping boost Asian demand with new orders. Always remember that The Chinese factor has a disproportionate impact on the energy balance of the planet.

Today, when we observe gas and oil prices at historic highs, we fail to mention that. Oil was already above $100 a barrel eight years ago Gas peaked before the US became self-sufficient and became a net exporter of shale gas. The Chinese boom had already created it at its inception twenty years earlier Energy imbalance Today we “discover” that. A frequently heard response, particularly (but not exclusively) from the environmental front in Europe and America, is The transition to renewable energies must be accelerated. Basically, that’s what California is saying with its ban on the sale of combustion cars starting in 2035. And for this reason Scholz went to Canada. To reduce consumption of fossil fuels and carbon emissionsA decisive challenge is the transition to an electric car.

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See Bloomberg forecasts a Sales of electric cars to increase to 40% by 2030 from 10% of total sales last year. German car manufacturers are among the protagonists of this change. But all electric car manufacturers are in a situation A dangerous dependence on China: that country Controls 80% of global production of components for electric cars. Recently, China’s Cattle, the largest global battery manufacturer, announced the construction of its second European giga-factory in Hungary, specifically to supply German industry. Of the six largest global manufacturers, the top two are ChineseThree Koreans and one Japanese.

The West is in a state of dramatic dependence, which foreshadows similar or worse conditions in the future as it relies on Russian gas. Chinese dominance is strengthened by Beijing’s control over all the basic materials needed for green technologies: Besides lithium cobalt and nickel, a long list of rare earths and rare minerals essential for electric batteries, photovoltaics and wind energy. Because Scholz went to Canada to talk about it Canada is one of the few countries outside of China that produces minerals and rare earths (Others in South America have already come under lengthy petition from Chinese multinationals: Argentina, Chile). Germany realizes that the race to secure a secure supply of rare minerals has been years in the making.And the Chinese are winning big.

We must move immediately to prevent an energy, economic and environmental disaster on the green energy front. Two fronts have emerged arrogantly: Greenland and the oceans. Canadian company Neo Performance Materials buys the mining rights Greenland (largely autonomous territory of Denmark) to go there to mine magnetic materials used in electric batteries. Toronto-based Neo is one of the few non-Chinese companies that can chemically separate battery magnets from dirt extracted from mines.. Up until now, Neo has been using materials mined in Russia, now of course she has to look for it elsewhere, hence the episode in Greenland. But beware: Neo Canadian doesn’t enforce these Chemical processing In his own country but in the factories he owns Estonia and China. Why? to come around Environmental resistance As opposed to “dirty” processing. The only western company involved in this business for the same reason, Lynas mines minerals in Australia but processes them in Malaysia. Greenland had long resisted being granted mining rights again for environmental reasons.

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A similar problem arises for him Exploitation of seabed. The future of clean energy also depends on mining in the bowels of the oceans: A single “ocean bed” like the Clarion Clipperton ZoneBetween Mexico and Hawaii, There is a high amount of metallic nodules of cobalt, manganese and lithium. South of that area, the Cook Islands have already begun exploring the ocean floor Metals essential for green color change; The maritime area is under the sovereignty of the Cook Islands 12 billion tons of metal nodulesMainly rich in cobalt.

International Maritime CommissionA United Nations agency, set up Rules for Exploitation Through these resources 168 Member States. But some Western companies have already seized this opportunity: BMW, Renault and Volkswagen They signed a waiver upon request Green peace, pledged not to buy cobalt extracted from seabeds. A persistent problem.

When we observe that the majority Rare minerals and metals essential for the green transition are found in China or controlled by Chinese companies (even if they are located on other continents), we omit equally important information. Rare minerals and metals are found underground in many parts of the world, including rich countries. Unlike the Chinese, we don’t want to search for them, let alone extract or process them, for fear of environmental damage. The United States is rich in these resources, but has practically eliminated their extraction and processing over the years, due to environmental vetoes. Without these materials, the transition to a zero-emission economy is simply impossible. Schalls had to go to Canada to find a wealthy western country that would not exclude him From an absolutely unavoidable industry, if we really want an electric car and solar power.

August 24, 2022, 19:28 – Change August 24, 2022 | 19:28