This is a response to John Helvang’s argument: the circular economy alone is unfortunately far from sufficient.
Green transformation does not need to be mined at the bottom of the sea, but rather the opposite?
The deep sea industry, which favors exploration and extraction of seabed minerals, argues that the growing demand for green technologies cannot be met by mining on land. This is disputed, not fact. International Seabed Authority (he) He studied the future demand for minerals, as well as the potential for recycling and technological innovation, and found that there was a lot of uncertainty related to the future balance between supply and demand.
Circular value chain systems can be significantly improved as of today, and future technological innovation is not considered in these future scenarios, according to the European Academies Scientific Advisory Council (EASAC). In addition, research from Teske et al. (2016) and Månberger and Stenqvist (2018) that extraction of minerals on earth It is actually sufficient To meet the demand required in renewable technologies to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2060.
No circular economy – no sustainable development
The circular economy is an important enabler of sustainable development. As John Helvang himself pointed out, perhaps without even knowing it, the transition to a circular economy is critical to the green transition. According to the Centef report Can the circular economy (28%) and technological innovation (30%) contribute to reducing demand for virgin minerals by 58% by 2050, based on the IEA’s Net Zero 2050 scenario? In terms of volume, this corresponds to a decrease in the need for virgin material by about 3.5 times the current need in 2050.
EASAC advocates policy instruments for circular economic solutions and systems, as well as the use of onshore resources, prior to exploration and extraction of seabed minerals. EASAC concludes that Science supports calls by parties such as the European Commission and some member states for a pause until scientific standards for environmental protection are developed in line with international agreements.
John Helvang’s comment that “the fact is that mineral deposits are expected to be found on the Norwegian continental shelf in an area well below 1 percent of Norway’s land area” when the same cannot be deduced, as well as research determines not enough knowledge has been found Technology, procedures and methodology. It should also be specified that this estimation is only based on 2D arithmetic, while Fact 3d sea: You must include forcing in the entire water column due to, among other things, noise, particle scattering, and pollution, as well as the transmission of forcing through ocean currents.
Competence should be the basis of decision making
The Norwegian Environment Agency’s response to the impact assessment (KU) indicates a “significant lack of knowledge about nature, technology and environmental impacts, as well as whether mining operations can be conducted in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.” Naval Research Institute (HI) agrees and points out that “KU has significant knowledge gaps regarding hydrography, species occurrence, habitats and ecosystems in the entire region studied.” All environmental agencies, research bodies, and Equinor indicate that there is not enough knowledge to open up areas for exploration and/or extraction.
Well says Professor Peter Hogan, Subject Director at the Institute for Naval Research in Bergen:Life on land originated in the sea. With so much biodiversity, it would be reckless to indulge in deep sea mining and destroy ecosystems that could be vital for future generations. Such a decision would directly contravene the United Nations Convention on Nature and the recently adopted Convention to Protect Biodiversity in the High Seas.”
The green transition loses its purpose if we destroy nature and ecosystems along the way. We must ensure that the solutions we jump to today do not become new problems for tomorrow’s generations. The extraction of large quantities of new materials on the seabed according to a linear mentality is not related to the circular system we need to live in the future. Efficiency must be the basis for ensuring sustainable development. It is actually very crucial.
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