Two things happened during the middle week
of May that propelled the importance of a
cleaner energy future even more onto centre
stage. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, halted the ability to pay for his company’s products through
cryptocurrency. Apparently, it uses a lot of energy. A
second, less glamorous happening, though far more
significant than the exclamations of a celebrity CEO,
is the fact that companies are beginning to play along
in decarbonising the planet: The price of a tonne of
carbon rose higher than €50 for the first time. This is
of fundamental importance.
Humans’ exploitation of earth is well documented.
In a recent World Economic Forum report, it is
summarised as follows: 32% of the planet’s forests
are destroyed, 40% of invertebrate pollinators (such
as bees) face extinction, land surface productivity (to
produce food among others) shrunk by 23%, due to
land degradation (such as erosion), and 50%
percent of species face extinction by the end of the century – that is in 79 years’
time. Left unchecked, global warming will
reach 4.1°C to 4.8°C above pre-industrial
levels by 2099.
Ironically, the drive towards cleaner energy generation – and thus moving away from humans’ millennia-long reliance on carbon to generate heat – has increased the demand for certain minerals.These range from lithium (for making batteries), copper (as part of the alternators in wind
turbines) and rhodium (included in the catalytic
converters of automobiles to reduce noxious gasses)
to nickel (also used in making batteries) and iridium
(a hardening agent for platinum, which is also used
in catalytic converters). One just needs to look at
the share prices of the miners of these metals lately
to see how the demand and supply dynamics of the
mined minerals are playing out.
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Source: on 2021-06-10 05:22:30
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