Achieving clean energy goals requires more mineral supply: IEA study

Electric vehicles require six times more minerals than fossil-powered, fossil-powered vehicles, the report said.

Electric vehicles require six times more minerals than conventional fossil-powered vehicles, the report said.
Pictures: Shane Gallup (Getty Images)

If the world is to become prominent, we need a large supply of minerals, says a new report.

Climate scientists have made it clear that we need to get out in stages Greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Last of all, To stop the catastrophic levels of global warming. This transformation will not be the only end we need Our gas use And diesel-powered cars But to quickly increase our carbon-free alternative deployments. Minerals like nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper And the rare earth components are all critical components of clean energy technology, including wind turbines, solar panels and batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage.

The Analysis, Published by The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday that global demand for critical minerals could increase sixfold by 2040, in line with the 2050 target. And for some minerals, the gap between current supply and projected future demand is even wider. For example, demand for graphite is expected to increase 25-fold in two decades, but demand for lithium is expected to increase 70-fold.

“Today, the data bears a striking resemblance between the world’s strong climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals needed to realize these aspirations.” IEA executive director Fatih Biral said in a statement.

According to the report, the growing demand for electric vehicle power and batteries for pure electricity is due to the shortage of mineral supply. Electric vehicles require six times more minerals than fossil fuels.Driven car.

Accelerating the deployment of renewable energy will also be a huge factor. For example, each offshore wind power plant requires 13 times more mineral resources than a natural gas power plant of the same size, and the overall increase in low-carbon power generation is projected to triple by 2040.

To complicate things further, the production of minerals such as lithium, cobalt And the rare earth is highly concentrated. Only three countries account for more than 755% of all excavations today. Currently, 70% Cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo and rarely% of the world’s rare earth minerals come from China from the mineral-processing industry Even more concentrated, China is refining 90% of rare earth elements.

This tight clustering means these important supply chains are already very risky to be disrupted. As demand increases and with more pressure, this can become even more of a problem. If a country sees big problems with its mineral outputIn this case, Due to extreme weather disasters or trade restrictions –Which could jeopardize clean energy production around the world.

The report outlines possible strategies for governments to implement, Which can help take these issues. A strategy Excavations in different parts of the world include diversification of supply chains that can be increased and stabilized Production. Another strategy is that new technologies are developing Not as much as needed to produce these products.

The third possibility is to scale the reusability of used ups Clean energy technology and batteries. If the world does, the report says, “Reusable amounts of copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt from batteries consumed by 2040 could reduce the combined initial supply requirement for these minerals by about 10%.”

Of course, increased demand for minerals can also create a host of other problems. Where given without careful attention If the mine is sited, they can be a A deadly threat to biodiversity. Mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example Can damage the region In a forest full of apes and elephants, mines will be opened Madagascar Can threaten the endangered Sporty Lemur of Mittermere. Some countries have also planned to dig deep seas for the world’s rare minerals Environmental disasters can occur.

These mines can also be a threat to human life. In Chile, lithium mining is raising concerns because of this Decreasing Local water supply And Threat Indigenous homes. There is also the question of labor torture. Including tech giants Apple, Google, And TeslaFor example, lawsuits have been filed On cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Plaintiffs say their children died or were maimed during mining.

Although the challenges are numerous, the report says they do not exclude us from reaching our clean energy goals. But they go beyond that – and protect the planets and people as much as we do.

“Challenges are not indomitable,” With aRoll said. “But the government must give a clear signal of how it plans to implement its climate commitment.”

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