A vast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is crucial to slowing climate change. But building solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure requires mining for materials. If not done responsibly, this may damage species and ecosystems...
We found renewable energy production will exacerbate the threat mining poses to biodiversity – the world’s variety of animals and plants. It’s fair to assume that in some places, the extraction of renewables minerals may cause more damage to nature than the climate change it averts.
Hybrid cars and wind turbines need rare-earth minerals that come with their own hefty environmental price tag.
It will be no good if in transitioning to climate neutrality, large tracts of the planet are left uninhabitable by the mining of key raw materials
If we want to use renewable energy to keep the atmosphere cool, then mining processes and our current relationship with metals must change. Governments should implement policies that encourage those changes. Industry can also contribute by encouraging business partnerships and engagement with communities and other interested parties.
America produces few of the commodities it needs.
If attempted in earnest, the world's largest company will surely spur innovation in mining practices and electronics recycling. But Apple has provided no roadmap of how it will begin to recycle many of the dozens of rare earth elements that scientists have thus far deemed impractical to recover.
Mining the minerals that may be needed for a green energy revolution could devastate tribal lands. The Biden administration will be forced to choose.
An energy system powered by clean energy technologies differs profoundly from one fuelled by traditional hydrocarbon resources. Solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, wind farms and electric vehicles (EVs) generally require more minerals to build than their fossil fuel-based counterparts. A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant.
Raw materials such as cobalt and lithium have seen availability drop and prices rise—export restrictions may be playing a role.
Mineral deposit could lessen Europe’s reliance on China for vital material in electric cars and wind turbines.
Our reliance on rare earth minerals, used in everything from smartphones to clean tech, is leaving us exposed to future risks.
With a push to get more electricity from solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, some people have worried that there won’t be enough key minerals to make the decarbonization switch.
A race is on to produce lithium in the United States, but competing projects are taking very different approaches to extracting the vital raw material. Some might not be very green.
Rare earths are becoming an increasingly valuable commodity in the tech world. They are essential ingredients in many of the commercial products we use everyday. Cell phones, wind turbines, electric cars: we couldn't make any of these things without rare earths.
We look at who wins and loses.
New tax credit bill seeks to challenge China’s dominance in the processing of critical minerals.
The world needs more metals for batteries to fight climate change. Should it come at the cost of these animals?
Rare earth metals are used in solar panels and wind turbines—as well as electric cars and consumer electronics. We don't recycle them, and there's not enough to meet growing demand.
The viability of a renewable energy future relies on the ready supply of REEs, or rare-earth elements. There are 17 REEs in the periodic table and, though the name suggests otherwise, they are actually plentiful in the earth’s crust. The challenge is that these elements are not often concentrated in ore deposits, which makes them expensive and unreliable as an extractable resource for domestic use or export. This in part explains the shortage of these materials being extracted in the United States.
A vast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is crucial to slowing climate change. But building solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure requires mining for materials. If not done responsibly, this may damage species and ecosystems.