February 4, 2023

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Minerals, minerals, and energy can stifle the green transition

The headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is housed in a wonderful old building on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva in Switzerland. On Wednesday, November 30, an important announcement came from there, from the body that decides allegations that a member state is violating international free trade agreements:

European Union won an appeal against Indonesia, which since 2014 has banned the export of nickel, one of the world’s most important minerals, for electricity.

Achieving the climate goals of Norway, the European Union and the world will require insane amounts of minerals and critical metals such as nickel. It is therefore important that no country is allowed to reserve its natural resources for its own use.

Indonesia News Anchor This decision is taken to the WTO Appellate Body, knowing that there is currently no appellate body there. Presidents Trump, and then Biden, sabotaged and sabotaged the appointment of members there.

The case shows how greedy the world’s resources are now. Another “funny” example of the WTO is that the European Union left a month before Russia invaded Ukraine Case against Russia To get access to the timber on which the Russians imposed export restrictions. In the past, the EU has also attacked Ukraine’s export restrictions on timber.

Sanctions hit the West, promoted by China

Nickel is one of many important components in car batteries, among other things, and is essential to plans to electrify car fleets around the world. He writes that Russia is the third largest producer of nickel in the world Tu la.

Then Russian nickel magnate Vladimir Potanin (who owns, among other things, a nickel plant near the Pacific, which has long been polluting eastern Finnmark with acid rain), was then swept away from the sanctions. All the way to the US just before Christmas existing.

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He writes that the sanctions will delay and make European electric vehicle production more expensive open data, But China will not be affected, and Russian nickel can be bought. In this way, China, which already controls most of the rare earths and metals needed for the “green transition”, will enhance its competitiveness vis-à-vis Europe.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine and subsequent sanctions do not make access to nickel and other minerals and minerals important for batteries, wind turbines and other components of electricity any easier.

However, the quantities of raw materials and energy that we are talking about raise questions about the realism of plans to reduce the global climate.

The same amount of copper that was mined 5,000 years ago

“Green energy systems are more metal-intensive than fossil energy systems. An electric vehicle requires six times more minerals than fossil vehicles, and an offshore wind farm requires 13 times the mineral input of a comparable large gas power plant,” Andreas Svanlund, Business Developer at Seabed Solutions writes in DN, Refers to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

According to Svanlund, the transition from a fossil energy system to a renewable energy system is also a transition to a mineral-based energy system.

If the world is to meet its climate goals, the need for lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel will increase by more than 20-50 times, compared to current production. Svanlund wrote that over the next 20 years we will have to mine as much copper as we have in the last 5,000 years.

National Geological Surveys of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)and many other sources, have similar messages and warn of great natural devastation.

Jakob Kløve Keiding of GEUS points out that more natural intervention in the form of more mines is absolutely necessary to be able to meet climate goals.

– There are many bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials for batteries, which are not only related to the extraction capacity. Supply chains are complex and fragile, and there are widespread problems related to cobalt extraction, most of which occur in the DRC under unacceptable social and environmental conditions, Kidding asserts.

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In Norway, the dispute over the Nusair mine in Finnmark, which will extract copper, shows how controversial overmining can be.

Huge amounts of more metal

For example, 21 times the amount of lithium, 4.3 times the amount of dysprosium, and 4 times the amount of cobalt that the European Union uses now would be needed if they were to reach their climate target in 2050. This is evident from the report. Maaden for clean energy (Maaden for Clean Energy), set up by the Belgian university KU Leuven on behalf of Eurometaux, the European Minerals Trade Organization.

And guess who’s sitting on massive amounts of the all-important raw material? Not the countries we “love” to play with.

Another voice is Olivier Vidal, director of research at the Institute of Geosciences in Grenoble. We must move from a hydrocarbon-intensive world to a metal-intensive one. By 2050, we will have to extract as much minerals as we have since the beginning of mankind. is his message.

He adds that there is no sustainable model for this without reaching levels of recycling that we have not achieved before.

50 times the energy production in Norway!

The zero-emission society as envisioned by the European Union, Norway and the world does not only need raw materials. But also the energy needed to produce these, not least the energy to produce wind turbines, solar cells, batteries, hydrogen and ammonia to replace fuel.

Professor Jan Emblemsvåg highlights one example of facts in Finansavisen. In the offshore sector, heavy oil is the main challenge. It is estimated that it will continue 300 million tons annually And that it should be replaced with green ammonia. The amount of electricity needed to produce that much green (“green” because it has to be produced using renewable energy) ammonia, roughly to his estimation. 7,800 TWh/year, or 1.5 times the total electricity production in the European Union.

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I might add that it makes up Norway’s total energy production for more than 50 years.

When shipping accounts for 2-3 percent of the world’s climate emissions, it says something about the incredible effort required to reach agreed-upon climate goals. It can also make you think about how much of nature needs to be destroyed to get raw materials and convert vast areas into solar cells and wind turbine plants.

Also, remember that the world’s population is also increasing by 70 million annually.

Emblemsvåg is controversial because it argues against wind energy and to Nuclear energy, but I haven’t yet seen anyone punctuate his numbers.

I have personally followed the environmental issue since the 1980s and have always loathed the idea of ​​nuclear power. Now I’m beginning to doubt that it’s possible to get enough renewable energy without catastrophic proportions to destroy nature.

What a danger to the world of the future! So maybe nuclear energy is a less toxic pill to swallow.

Thomas Vermes writes for ABC Nyheter on Sundays. Read more of his comments here.

(Votes is the discussion section of ABC Nyheter. Here regular and occasional contributors write about current news topics. We also collaborate with the online political newspaper Altinget.no . If you are burning with an opinion or analysis, you can send the text to the following address: [email protected], and we will consider it).