Discussion: If the world is to reach net zero in 2050, more than six times the amount of minerals and minerals the world uses today will be needed. Naturally, Norway should explore the possibilities of mineral industry on the Norwegian seabed.
Haakon K. Tuvin
This is a discussion post. The post was written by an external contributor, and quality assured by Aftenbladet’s debate department. Opinions and analyzes are the author’s own.
Hilda Overebeck’s comment in Aftenbladet on October 5 attests to the energy and geopolitical naivete that one might think had disappeared with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Because in the same way Europe has tied itself to Russia and made itself dependent on oil And Russian gas. Has the green transition made Norway and Europe dependent on China?
Knowing the world’s needs for minerals and rare earths, and that China already controls more than 50% of the market, reducing this dominance must be a declared goal. The question is not whether Norway or the world will need these minerals. The question is how and in which countries it will be extracted.
If there is anything we have learned from the past year and a half, it is that we cannot make ourselves resource dependent on countries like Russia and China.
If the world is to reach the UN goal of net zero in 2050, it will need six times the amount of rare earth minerals we use today. Recycling metals and minerals will be important, but it is not enough. The International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates that recycling will only cover 10 percent of the increased demand. It is true that there is a report prepared by the recycling group at Scientific, commissioned by WWF, which concludes, based on several unrealistic assumptions, that recycling could cover the world’s need for metals. A report that completely ignores, among other things, the demand for minerals associated with the ongoing electrification of society, which requires a massive upgrade of the energy grid on a global basis. The report itself assumes a significant reduction in global energy consumption. It is no coincidence that it is difficult to find other sources that support the very startling findings of the report that Overebeck has chosen to highlight.
Overebeck highlights an important point: we don’t know enough about the deep sea. The lack of knowledge is also the reason why the first phase of the opening up process will be exclusively one of exploring and gathering knowledge, which is what other countries such as the UK, Germany and France have been doing, and spending significant resources on, for the past 20 years. The investigations will map the resource base, as well as assess the environmental consequences associated with potential extraction. It is these investigations that will ensure relevant knowledge of whether seabed minerals can be extracted responsibly, for safety and environmental reasons. This step-by-step process is also the reason why Norway’s premier deep-sea professional environment, the University of Bergen’s Deep Sea Research Center, speaks positively about the government’s opening-up process.
If there is anything we have learned from the past year and a half, it is that we cannot make ourselves resource dependent on countries like Russia and China. When we also know that Norway is in a unique position, with potentially large deposits of seabed minerals on the Norwegian continental shelf, and world-leading marine and maritime expertise, it would be strange for Norway not to even explore the possibility of a Norwegian seabed. Metal industry. Because we cannot escape the need for minerals.
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