Embassy Row Project Podcast

Green Conflict Minerals: The Mad Dash to Net Zero Is About To Get Rough, by James Scott

January 08, 2023 James Scott Season 1 Episode 20
Embassy Row Project Podcast
Green Conflict Minerals: The Mad Dash to Net Zero Is About To Get Rough, by James Scott
Show Notes

This is a brief introduction to the latest book by Embassy Row Project's founder, James Scott entitled, Green Conflict Minerals: The Mad Dash to Net Zero Is About To Get Rough

Climate change represents a looming threat that has already begun to impact the fragile existence of millions who exist in destitute poverty, sinking island nations, and regions of the world where the population eeks out a day-to-day existence from the diminishing yields from their land.. Therefore, the effort to limit the global rise in temperatures to well below 2oC under the Paris Agreement (UNFCC, 2018) and mitigate the effects of climate change requires Herculean resolve and an internationally unified mission to achieve net zero.

A wide variety of technologies aiming to accomplish net zero are being developed and deployed, and their application requires resources that can be limited in supply.

The IEA estimates that “a concerted effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement (climate stabilization at ‘well below 2°C global temperature rise’, as in the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario [SDS]) would mean a quadrupling of mineral requirements for clean energy technologies by 2040. An even faster transition, to hit net-zero globally by 2050, would require six times more mineral inputs in 2040 than today.” (IEA, 2022)

The main factor is the increased use of electric vehicles and batteries, which is predicted to increase thirty times by 2040. Lithium should see the highest increase in materials used for manufacturing by 2040, over 40 times, followed by graphite and nickel (20-25 times). Copper demand is slated to double due to the expansion of the global electrical grids. Cobalt consumption is estimated to increase 6 to 30 times, depending on the evolution of battery technology and the stringency of climate policies. Rare earths should see an increase of 3 to 7 times, depending on how widely wind power generation is adopted. Largely, these wide margins of uncertainty are due to a general need for more well-defined long-term policies.

The total consumption of minerals critical for green technologies is expected to increase from around 8 million tons in 2020 to 30-40 million tons by 2050, creating significant opportunities in the field. As a result, this mining sector's value is expected to increase from around $40 billion to over $250 billion in annual revenue. For comparison, today's global coal mining sector is worth around $420 billion in annual revenue.

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A Fast Track To Carbon Neutral: Using Environmental Commodities to Rapid Launch Commercial Sustainability Programs by James Scott