Decarbonizing the world’s economy will require an enormous amount of minerals like copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt. Everything from electric vehicles to solar panels to transmission lines will require these raw materials.
In some cases, mining these minerals has disastrous consequences for workers, indigenous communities, and the environment. This has led some clean energy skeptics to argue that decarbonization will be bad for both humans and the environment.
But transitioning to clean energy will mean we no longer have to mine and extract vast quantities of fossil fuels each year. A clean energy transition will help us avoid the worst effects of climate change; it will save millions of lives currently lost to air pollution each year; and, importantly, it will reduce the total amount of environmentally and socially harmful mining each year.
Distilled is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.