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Building climate-saving tech digs up new problems

6D彩票网开户Solving the climate crisis is going to take a lot of mining

Cobalt Mining in Congo

The solar power and electric vehicles we need to stop the climate crisis pose a different threat to people and the environment: a boom in mining. Moving away from fossil fuels depends on tech like batteries and solar panels that can provide alternative forms of energy. But digging up the raw materials can undermine human rights and destroy fragile ecosystems. As governments and industries try to tackle climate change by building up renewable energy, they’ll need to consider other problems unearthed in the process.

Policy experts writing in the warn that a more sustainable future could hinge on how leaders manage the demand for metals and minerals, including cobalt and lithium needed for rechargeable batteries.

6D彩票网开户 and store energy so that solar and wind power are still accessible even in unfavorable weather. The downside is that those batteries are made with cobalt. Most of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where children work in mines to meet growing demand for the metal. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell, and Tesla have all been named defendants in a over the deaths of children working in cobalt mines.

6D彩票网开户Cobalt production connected to low-carbon energy sources is expected to balloon by 585 percent by 2050, . Lithium production, also needed for batteries, could grow by a whopping 965 percent by 2050. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the world needs to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 2050 to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change.

“The low carbon society that we think we’re going to have in 2050 needs all of this stuff. Yet currently we’re at risk of securing that stuff only at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable in society,” Sovacool says. He tells The Verge6D彩票网开户 that seeing the effects of cobalt mining in the Congo firsthand came as shock despite the previous research he’d done. He recalls a church pastor who had dug up the floor of his church in search of cobalt, and workers digging mines with their bare hands as part of the “mining bonanza.”

. That would open up new sources of cobalt, but could destroy ecosystems that scientists have only just begun to explore. The costs and benefits of each new project will need to be weighed on a case-by-case basis, according to Sovacool. His article in Science6D彩票网开户 suggests that countries should be thinking about the supply chain for minerals in their climate plans and in global agreements like the Paris climate accord.

Climate change is the result of pushing technological progress without regard for the harms caused by the fossil fuels on which it depends. A green economy, even if it is wind-powered, won’t come out of thin air. Without thinking about what’s sacrificed to build that future, history may repeat itself.

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