Archives de Tag: raw materials

Commodities and raw materials

Resources was high on the agenda last week in Brussels at a high-level conference on commodities and raw materials. The question of the regulation of markets was a central discussion point as speculation on commodities pushes up prices….

The EU jumps into the raw materials war…

Last 10 November the European Commission unveiled its ‘trade policy‘ for the next 5 years as a component of the EU’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.

It also raises the crucial question of the access and trade of raw materials, underlining that some non-EU countries develop policies to create supply bottlenecks…it was high time the EU noticed that:). In reaction the EU will show its muscles and punish those countries not playing by the rules (read an analysis here) which in concrete terms means a new form of colonialism and protectionism…So the EU is unfortunately not smarter than the other big players (USA, China, Japan…) in this worrying game: old habits are back on stage. When things become scarce, instead of looking for innovative and smart solutions which especially means collaborative approaches among all stakeholders to find sustainable solutions, the self interest of each ones takes over…There are plenty of examples throughout history of wars which were caused by crunches in supply of crucial materials (food, wood…).

The fundamental question now is if we will be able to face the forthcoming supply crunches (fossil fuels, rare metals…) by peaceful negotiations (raw materials diplomacy?)and a form of worldwide governance or if war is around the corner…

The next step at EU level is the planned adoption of a Communication on raw materials in December 2010.

EU public consultation on ‘Raw materials’…last days

In 2008 the Commission launched the EU Raw Materials Initiative . The Commission is currently preparing a new Communication which will not only report on progress made with the implementation of this initiative, but also indicate the way forward.

You can take part in the public consultation launched in the framework of this work: it is open until 19 September 2010, more information here.

Global resource crunch?

 The online EU information website « Euractiv » provides a good synthesis of EU policies on raw materials. The European Commission is expected to come out with a report on critical raw materials in the next months.

It seems that the reality of « resource scarcity » is taken more and more seriously which is good news even though it is already very late (too late for some resources ?) since there’s always a long time between the moment there’s some awareness at the highest political level and the time serious actions are implemented… The problem is that « climate change » has eaten up all the attention although it is only a part of the global environmental-economic structural flaw of the current model.

Raw materials gap – Rupture de matières premières

The German industry recently warned of a possible raw material gap which could threaten the growth of the German industry.
This sounds as a further strong message in favour of radically increased resource efficiency…

Les industriels allemands ont fait part via leur association nationale BDI de leurs craintes face à de possible ruptures en matières premières telles que le cuivre ou le métal recyclé. Ils demandent à l’UE la mise en place d’une ‘stratégie matière première’ à l’échelle européenne, une meilleure régulation internationale du commerce des matières premières. Ils expriment également leur inquiétude face à la mise en place de puissants oligopols dans le secteur minier tel que le rapprochement entre Rio Tinto et BHP Billiton.
La féroce compétition pour les ressources naturelles ne fait que débuter…