The New York Times reports (link in title):
China produces nearly 95 percent of the world’s rare earth materials, and it is taking the steps to improve pollution controls in a notoriously toxic mining and processing industry. But the moves also have potential international trade implications and have started yet another round of price increases for rare earths, which are vital for green-energy products including giant wind turbines, hybrid gasoline-electric cars and compact fluorescent bulbs.
General Electric, facing complaints in the United States about rising prices for its compact fluorescent bulbs, recently noted in a statement that if the rate of inflation over the last 12 months on the rare earth element europium oxide had been applied to a $2 cup of coffee, that coffee would now cost $24.55.Giant Wind Turbines will be more expensive. Hybrid Cars more expensive. Even those not-quite-bright compact fluorescents more expensive.
And why do we need these products?
To reduce the man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. On the basis of a falsified hypothesis that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are causing runaway global warming. Incredible.