https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/03/the-limits-of-sanctions.php

Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and our NATO allies have brought Russia’s economy to a screeching halt. With the exception, of course, of oil exports–which represent most of Russia’s export economy. But that’s got to be the only exception, right?

Wrong. The Wall Street Journal explains:

From its base at a former Arctic gulag, Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC digs up a large portion of two metals that are essential to greener transport and computer chips.

So far the U.S. and its allies haven’t sanctioned the company, or its oligarch chief executive, underscoring the dilemma some analysts say governments face in seeking to punish Russia without hurting their own access to key commodities.

What are those “key commodities”? Nickel and palladium, primarily.

Nornickel, as the company is known, also supplies energy transition metals such as cobalt and copper.

“Energy transition metals” means metals that are vital for the alleged transition to wind and solar energy that our government is trying to force on us. This also has to do with electric vehicles, sacred cows of the 21st century:

Nornickel’s production is important, analysts say, because demand for nickel is forecast to grow strongly amid the growing popularity of electric vehicles. Nickel had the biggest supply deficit of any base metal last year relative to market size, at about 6%, according to analysts at BMO.

So Russian metals exports won’t be blocked or subject to sanctions, either. Unlike oil and gas, this isn’t because we, or anyone else, actually needs them. Rather, it is because the metals are wanted for pet projects of Western governments–wind and solar energy, and electric vehicles. Which, collectively, represent a downgrade from energy produced from fossil fuels and vehicles designed to run on such fuels.

But put that to one side. Assuming we need more nickel, palladium, copper and cobalt, do those minerals have to come from Russia? Actually, no. Minnesota is home to some of the world’s largest deposits of all four of those minerals. But not a pound has been mined. Why? Because hysterical “environmentalists” won’t let it happen.

Which results in the ultimate absurdity: in the name of the environment, we enrich Vladimir Putin and his cronies while impoverishing Americans, and providing no environmental benefit whatsoever. It’s all in a day’s work for the Biden administration.

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