THE CHINESE ARE prioritizing climate change over economic growth. That’s bad news for the global car industry. Cars are partly made from aluminium alloys, which in turn come from magnesium—a substance which is as Chinese as chopsticks. Something like 90 per cent of all the magnesium in the world comes from China, and almost all of it from just one town – a little place called Yulin in Shaanxi province.
Now here’s the problem. The world needs to cut energy usage, so the Chinese government has told entire industries to lower activity levels, including the factories producing the world’s supply of magnesium. Carmakers are fighting over the remaining supplies, causing prices to spike – check out the graph in the video.
Result? The world may end up with fewer cars and a better environment. I’m still trying to work out how this is bad news. Personally, I can’t think of anything better.
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Image at top shows US politician Nancy Pelosi visiting an electric car factory in Tianjin, China; picture from Yaohua2k7/ Wikimedia Commons