Fund Balance sees Green Computing as an essential component in economic planning for the coming decade and beyond. Many rare earth metals required for key components of workstations, laptops and smartphones are growing scarce. China possesses the most significant deposits of these essential rare earth metals. The PRC government is actively buying up rights to deposits in Africa. It also has the most developed capacity to extract and deliver the ores, from mine to manufacturing floor.
We noted at Fund Balance recently Chinese government signals to trading partners and sovereign funds of its inclination to halt exports of rare earth metals. It is also worth noting in the areas of Energy Technology that China has near monopolies on key elements for Wind Turbines, Neodymium, and the batteries in the Prius, Lanthanum.
We urge all consumers and producers of networked, digital media to consider the economic consequences of failing to plan ahead for these contingencies now. So critical actions items:
— Supplies of many of the rare earths can be found in Alaska and Canada, lets lay out sustainable plans and methodologies now to protect the air and water of these ecosystems once mining for them begins.
— Accelerate investment in solar, thermal and even kinetic (powering your cell phone while you ride your bike)
— Encourage certifications, much like the LEED certifications, for software and hardware design and engineering praxis
We have tremendous faith that such scarcity will drive industry and academia to innovate in the areas of materials science, optical switching and other methods for powering computational and information technology obviating much of the need for rare earth metals. And indeed Physorg.com covers some exciting work in the area of nanotechnology and near-threshold computing.
But in the meantime lets plan for sustainable industrial action.