Climate Warning: Britain Must End Dependency on China to Go Really Green | Great Britain | news

Of particular concern is the use of components for electric vehicle batteries and offshore wind farms, which form the backbone of UK climate change goals. China dominates the rare earth magnet market and produces 90 percent of the global supply. Its manufacturing process, which includes intensive mining, has a heavy impact on the environment. In addition, the company has invested more than GBP 9 billion in mostly European wind farm projects.

Last night, China expert and former diplomat Matthew Henderson warned that the amount of Chinese components in UK offshore wind farms means that some risks “will never offset the effects of their creation.”

Of the 22 completed or under construction offshore wind farms in the UK, 17 have at least 100 turbines.

Because offshore turbines are difficult to maintain, they are usually built with permanent magnet generators that use rare earth magnets instead of traditional gears.

And since most are built under the government’s Contract for Difference program – subsidized by taxpayers’ money to encourage low-carbon power generation – bidders are forced to go to China for other components as well, such as the 2,000 pound foundations or foundations “Jackets” to meet tight margins.

Two thirds of the 115 turbines in a new project are produced in China and transported here at high environmental costs.

Currently, the UK’s “green clock” only starts ticking when a project is active and does not take into account the environmental impact of production in other countries.

A senior source said: “Our view is that nations should be concerned about their own emissions – this is how we measure success; That’s what Cop26 was all about. “

But China, which didn’t even attend the summit and is responsible for nearly 30 percent of global emissions, has spectacularly rejected its targets.

Hopes that it would herald the highest domestic emissions before 2025 have been dashed, and its reliance on coal-fired power plants remains.

China already accounts for two-thirds of the world’s most polluting power plants and was the only major industrial power to increase carbon emissions over the past year as its centralized communist government gave the go-ahead to a number of coal-peer projects to fuel the economic Effects of the pandemic.

“Faking virtues while engaging with such a partner increases dependence on the UK supply chain, while UK green policy is portrayed as an empty deception that relies on greedy trading with the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” warned Henderson yesterday Evening.

However, there are alternatives.

A new government-backed report from Cheshire’s Less Common Metals (LCM) says the UK can begin producing high-powered magnets, vital offshore wind turbines and batteries for electric vehicles.

Rare earth commodities for magnets could be extracted from mineral sands, making them cheaper and more environmentally friendly than China’s rare earth mines.

A new magnet factory could be built by 2024 and eventually produce 2,000 tons of rare earth magnets a year, enough to power about 1 million electric vehicles, but the government would have to copy China’s centralized methods, said Ian Higgins, CEO of LCM.

And it would have to greatly increase the subsidies in order to reduce the additional costs due to the use of sustainably produced materials.

“We need to consider the environmental impact of production,” said Prof. Alan Walton, Co-Director of the Birmingham Center for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials.

“This is already being discussed in the EU so that the environmental impact of projects can be correctly calculated.

“The US is providing government support to boost manufacturing with things like a tax credit of $ 30 / kg if you use US-made rare earth magnets.

“We see ourselves as a future technology exporter, so our manufacturers are also forced to do this when we sell to Europe. We cannot imitate China’s path.

“But Britain will have to maintain government intervention.”

Dr. Gavin Harper, Met4Tech Research Fellow at BCSECM. added, “The way China is currently making magnetic rare earth materials is not environmentally sound. Your technologies would not be acceptable to us – not only for CO2 emissions, but also for health and safety reasons.

“But just because China had the foresight to invest in its supply chains doesn’t mean that it has to dominate this market in the future.”

He says another way would be to recycle rare earth magnets found in everyday electronic devices like phones and computers.

“Extracting rare earth magnetic materials would mean not having to repeat the energy-intensive processes that have already been used,” he said.

Last night, Sir Ian Duncan Smith MP, a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance for China, said, “This is a big problem, China produces pretty much all of the machinery for our turbines. They are the main producers of batteries and dominate the rare earths.

“It is absolutely realistic that these things will be done here. We cannot allow these highly polluting practices to be incorporated into our green strategy. ‘

A BEIS spokesperson said: “We are committed to building sustainable supply chains for green energy like offshore wind here in the UK.

“Just last week we had new funds of up to 160 million”

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