Smart Phones, Hybrid Cars, and the Global Competition for "Rare Earth Elements"
"Rare earth elements" are essential raw materials for today's smart phones, wind turbines, and hybrid car batteries. Today, more than 90% of "rare earths" like lanthanum and neodymium come from China. The United States recently asked the World Trade Organization to investigate whether China is abusing that market dominance. Kojo explores the science and politics of "rare earth" materials.