Resource extraction and renewable energy
We often use the terms “clean energy” and “renewable energy” interchangeably, but renewable energy isn’t always clean. In the race to scale up renewable energy technology, the demand of minerals like lithium, cobalt, copper, and nickel is also on the rise. These minerals are necessary components for everything from electric vehicles, to solar panels, to wind turbines. Unfortunately, in some cases the mining of these metals has been linked to human rights abuses and the destruction of local freshwater sources and biodiversity.
According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, many of the reserves for these minerals are found in states perceived to be both fragile and corrupt, making them vulnerable to increased fragility, conflict and violence as mineral extraction grows.
MiningWatch Canada outlines the challenge ahead of us clearly: how do we “respond to the climate crisis without destroying more of the planet we are trying to save – to reduce the need for more mining, limit and manage its impacts, and to the extent possible, repair the damage it has already done to communities and ecosystems?”
Today we offer a few resources to explore this question.
Learn more about the minerals needed for the transition to a low carbon economy with this report and case studies from the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Check out the Transition Minerals Tracker – a project that tracks mining operations related to renewable energy and electric vehicles worldwide. Learn more about cobalt and copper mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo in this video with Emmanuel Umpula from AFREWatch.
Friday is Climate Strike Day! In honour of this youth movement for climate justice, today’s action is to learn some climate strike chants.