Addressing climate change and transitioning to a clean energy future is going to require more than just leaving fossil fuels in the ground; it is going to require pulling a lot of other resources out of it.
The International Energy Agency estimates that putting the world on track for a net-zero future will drive annual demand for energy-relevant materials up 6x between 2020 and 2040. More than half of that demand will be for electric vehicles and batteries.
6x more materials
That means we need to scale up the mines, supply chains, and recycling infrastructure important to a clean energy future in ways that are both just and sustainable.
Drawing on the history of batteries, Charged concludes with a set of policy priorities to guide a clean energy transition:
Leverage government leadership to build a clean energy future from the ground up.
Promote policies to promote responsible production and sourcing of materials for a clean energy transition.
Support new and expanded mining and refining operations in the United States.
Stop trying to recycle our way to a clean energy future.
Here is how the conclusion of Charged begins…
Additional sources about materials and a renewable energy future:
Climate + Community Project, Achieving Zero Emissions with More Mobility and Less Mining (2023).
Energy Information Agency, Renewables and Alternative Fuels
Energy Information Agency, Annual Energy Outlook
IPCC, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change
The World Bank, Climate-Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action
Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
The Intercept, A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez