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September 30, 2011 Fair Regulations Needed in the Race for Rare Resources

Everyone is talking about the Green New Deal. Rising prices for fossil fuels and rising public awareness of climate change have caused leading resource-poor industrialized countries such as the EU countries, the United States, and Japan to consider new green technologies a promising means of achieving economic growth. Politicians are also trying to raise their political profile by advocating the Green New Deal. The opportunities and drawbacks of these new technologies will be the topic the Global Economic Symposium (GES) panel session entitled Shaping a Global Resource Strategy.

Green energy production depends on limited mineral resources. These resources are often located in threshold and developing countries, and access to these countries and their resources is becoming ever more strategically important. China’s quasi monopoly over rare earths, for example, has sparked a debate about new resource strategies that has escalated into considering whether to make development aid dependent on rare resource contracts.

“We can only utilize the new green technologies adequately if the industrialized countries consume radically less resources, become radically more efficient and recycle much more,” says Barbara Unmüßig, chairwoman of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. She further says that “to prevent a green resource curse, the industries that exploit resources need to be subject to binding regulations, and the EU and other resource-importing countries need to establish a coherent investment and trade policy that targets development. The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung is a “greenish” foundation that is a GES Knowledge Partner for the first time this year. It will conduct a discussion on “Strategic Resources for New Green Technologies” and present solutions to the race for resources.

Are market forces capable of controlling the race for resources between companies and countries, or should this be accomplished politically? How can fair development be reconciled with efficient resource exploitation? Can the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative effectively minimize the negative impacts of resource exploitation, for example, environmental damage or geopolitical conflicts? Are there really no substitutes for rare mineral resources? These and other questions will be discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel.

Kiel will turn into a think tank on 4–6 October, when more than 400 high-ranking ex­perts from business, government, academia, and civil societies will meet for the fourth Global Economic Symposium (GES), which is being jointly hosted by the Kiel institute for the World Economy and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Among those expected to participate are Hans-Paul Bürkner, President and CEO of the Boston Consulting Group, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Joaquín Almunia, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission, Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium, Anders Borg, Finance Minister, Sweden, Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Finance, Turkey, and Erik Stark Maskin and Oliver E. Williamson, both Nobel laureates in economics.

Further information about speakers and themes at the GES can be found at www.global-economic-symposium.org.

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