The Green New Deal resolution contains a plan that calls for solar, wind, and EVs, for so-called renewable energy, and an overhaul of our transportation system.
That means massive amounts of materials, like copper, lithium, cobalt, iron ore, and other minerals and metals will be needed:
“A recent joint study by Metabolic, Copper 8 and Leiden University for the Dutch government estimates that global production of some metals will need to increase 12-fold by 2050 if all signatories of the Paris Agreement live up to their commitments to decarbonizing their economies.”
Okay, so if you are signing up for and support a path to so-called renewables and EVs, then you are signing up for a whole lot more mining, and all that goes with it: deforestation, tailing ponds, dams, water contamination, roads fragmenting habitat to get to the mines, etc. etc.
And yet, no one wants a copper mine in their own back yard. Just today I’m reading about how WA state residents are fighting a copper mine slated to go in the upper Methow valley:
And about anti-mining activism in Arctic Norway, where the government has just approved a new copper mine in indigenous Sami territory that will be the most environmentally damaging project in the history of the country, and where environmentalists, fishermen, and reindeer herders fought the mine hard and are considering legal action:
So which is it? You want your renewables and your EVs? Or not?
And if you want your renewables and EVs but you DON’T want the copper mines (and all the other mines) that go with that, then you are essentially saying that, just like we already do with mines, fossil fuels, and dirty manufacturing, you’d like those nasty things to be elsewhere. Where? Well, typically in countries with lax environmental laws, and in poor and indigenous regions where no one powerful and rich notices that it ruins lives and landscapes.
The so-called renewables and EVs revolution is going to spawn a whole new generation of NIMBYs. Get ready.
Image: Bingham Copper Mining Pit – Utah Reclamation Project, 1973, by Robert Smithson. Wax pencil and tape on plastic overlay on photograph, 20 x 30 inches (50.8 x 76.2 cm)