Hot Metals for a Cooler Climate?
So far, technological solutions have been the primary means of stopping climate crisis. The aim for many is to continue the current way of working and living with as few changes as possible — a “business as usual” approach that ignores questions of equity and justice. However, the consequences of the global warming and resource extraction are unequally distributed worldwide. Likewise, there is no equity in terms of how resources and energy
are consumed globally.
In this publication, we look at the consequences that mining and raw materials production of metals has on the climate, environment, and society. Metals form the basis for social harmony and for so-called “green technologies”. Without them, there would be no wind power or solar plants, no electric cars, and no digital transformation. Almost all studies by the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, the EU Commission, and many national governments, forecast a significant increase in metal requirements.
But are these needs at all compatible with environmental protection goals and climate equity? And if they are not, how can a raw material transition that reduces the total consumption of metallic raw materials while enabling the transition to the post-fossil fuel age succeed?