The rare metals war
The dark side of clean energy
and digital technologies
Guillaume Pitron’s first book, La Guerre des métaux rares, was published by LLL in 2018, translated into English as The Rare Metals War: The dark side of clean energy and digital technologies (2019). The first investigative report to question the benefits of the current energy revolution, it quickly became a bestseller with 100,000 copies sold in France, and has since been published in some fifteen countries.
Talk of the digital revolution, energy transition and ecological transformation abounds. There are those — journalists, politicians, researchers and futurists — who tell us there’s a new world, free at last from fossil fuels, pollution, shortages, and political and military tension. This formidably documented book, the fruit of six years of research, shows us why nothing could be further from the truth. In unyoking ourselves from fossil fuels, we are merely taking on a new dependency on rare metals. Lithium, cobalt, rare earth, tungsten, nickel... They have become indispensable to the development of the new green (windfarms, solar panels, etc.) and digital society (embedded in our phones, computers, tablets and other smart devices we use every day). Yet the environmental, economic and political costs of this dependency will be even higher than those of our current industrial society.
‘Both novel and eye opening … The Rare Metals War is worth the read.’ – Art Flynn, Irish Examiner
‘Recognising that the latest technologies might not be as green as we like to think is a good place to start planning for a better world.’ – John Arlidge, The Sunday Times
‘An expert account of a poorly understood but critical element in our economy.’ – Kirkus Reviews
‘At a time when many claim to be “citizens of the world” or retreat into naive or hypocritical protectionism, Pitron’s book is an attempt to open people’s eyes to the consequences of their societal choices and lifestyles.’ – Green European Journal
2018 Economics Book of the Year
2018 Prix Turgot, Best Financial Economics Book
BFMTV’s 2018 Economic Book of the Year
Winner of the 2018 ManpowerGroup/HEC Paris Literary Award
2018 HEC Business School Student Prize
The French Geographical Society Escourrou Award
2019 Business Preparatory Class Geopolitics Book Prize
Cosnes City Book Fair Readers' Club Award
2022 Business Book Awards Finalist, “Smart Thinking” category
The book has been translated into English (Scribe), Spanish (Península/Planeta), Italian (Luiss University Press), Korean (Galapagos), Russian (AST), Japanese (Hara Shobo), Taiwanese (Commonwealth) and Polish (Kogut). Translations into Hungarian (Pallas Athene Önyvkiado) and Turkish (Iş Kültür Publishing) are also planned in 2023.