For those of you (or your friends and family) going gaga over the Green New Deal, this is the most important article you can read:
Global energy transition powers surge in demand for metals, by Nelson Bennett for Business In Vancouver.
Aside from the fact that the Green New Deal is still a long way from being legislation, the “plan”—such as it is so far—is to build out to 100% renewable energy for the electrical grid and go 100% electrical vehicles.
This will require vast amounts of resources, including metals, such as aluminum, metallurgical coal, copper, aluminum, zinc, lithium, cobalt, and rare earths.
For instance, the International Energy Agency estimates that to put 125 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 (just 10% of the current number of cars) will require 10 million tons of copper – a 50% increase over current annual global copper consumption.
As this article so correctly points out (thank you! since so few articles mention this at all):
“Someone, somewhere, will still need to dig something out of the ground – if not lithium, then vanadium, and if not cobalt, manganese – and someone, somewhere, is going to oppose it.”
“The increased mining required will have impacts on land, water, forests and Indigenous peoples.”
That’s the understatement of the year (and it’s still only January).
Please read the whole article. If you are under the delusion that the Green New Deal will be “clean” and “green” and fabulous for everyone! and solve all our problems! please please please read this whole article.
And just as a reminder of what a copper mine does to the land (i.e., someone’s home… someone being perhaps a human, or perhaps thousands of other animals and plants), here’s a photo of the Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake City, UT by Lucy Raven:
And here’s a photo of giant mining dump trucks transporting copper ore at Bingham Canyon Mine, also by Lucy Raven:
Ms. Raven’s photographic animation, China Town, details the “generation of waste and of power” that grows in both the US and in China as a byproduct of copper mining.
Just google “lithium mining” and “cobalt mining” and “nickel mining” etc. if you want to see how all those other metals used in “clean” and “green” technologies are made. Oh and don’t forget steel, a key component in wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles. To make steel, you need iron, so for that one google “iron ore mine Brazil Vale disaster”.