The War Below


Author: Ernest Scheyder
ISBN: 9781668057377
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Inc.

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Acclaimed Reuters reporter Ernest Scheyder reveals the trillion-dollar battle for the resources to power our future.

Tough choices loom if the world wants to go green. The United States and other countries must decide where and how to procure the materials that make our renewable energy economy possible. To build electric vehicles, solar panels, cell phones, and millions of other devices means the world must dig more mines to extract lithium, copper, cobalt, rare earths, and nickel. But mines are deeply unpopular, even as they have a role to play in fighting climate change. These tensions have sparked a worldwide reckoning over the sourcing of these critical minerals, and no one understands the complexities of these issues better than Ernest Scheyder, whose exclusive access has allowed him to report from the front lines on the key players in this global battle to power our future.

This is not a story of tree-hugging activists, but rather of industry titans, scientists, and policymakers jostling over how best to save the planet. Scheyder explores how a proposed lithium mine in Nevada would help global automakers slash their dependance on fossil fuels, but developing that mine could cause the extinction of a flower found nowhere else on the planet. A hedge fund manager’s attempt to resuscitate rare earths mining in California relies on Chinese expertise, exposing the paradox in Washington’s quest for minerals independence. The fight to end child labor in Africa’s mining sector is a key reason, supporters contend, to dig out a vast reserve of cobalt and nickel under Minnesota’s vulnerable wetlands. An international mining conglomerate’s plan to extract copper for electric vehicles deep beneath Arizona’s desert would destroy a Native American holy site, fueling tough questions about what matters more.

In The War BelowScheyder crafts a business story that matters to everyone. If China continues to dominate production of these critical minerals, it will have a profound impact on the geopolitical order. Beyond China, countries such as Bolivia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo aim to wield their vast reserves of key minerals. There are no easy answers when it comes to energy. Scheyder paints a powerfully honest and nuanced picture of what is needed to fight climate change and secure energy independence, revealing how America and the rest of the world’s hunt for the “new oil” directly affects us all.