Rare Earth Elements, Global Inequalities and the 'Just Transition'

by Mandy Sadan, Dan Smyer Yü, Dan Seng Lawn, David Brown and Ronghui (Kevin) Zhou

The British Academy
Number of pages

Rare Earth Elements (REE) have entered discussions about the just transition only within the last decade and they remain relatively unknown within the public discourse about pro-carbon-zero technologies. REE will be vital in delivering a carbon-zero future and their importance is set to increase dramatically in the short and medium-term, given the immediate need for them and the lag in implementing recycling or alternatives for rapid technological transition. However, their sites of extraction are often located in highly marginalised and conflict-prone regions. This project aims to develop a more integrated approach to REE by considering what the just transition looks like at different points along the commodity chain. It also hopes to develop resources for schools to ensure that young people who will have increasing responsibility for finding solutions to these problems are familiarised with the implications of relying on green technologies that use REE.

Sign up to our email newsletters