The pivotal but often overlooked role of excessive resource extraction in climate change is set to be the center of attention at two consecutive Geneva events this September: the World Resources Forum 2023 and the UNEP Global Intergovernmental Meeting on Minerals and Metals. These gatherings highlight the significance of minerals and metals in industries like energy, construction, mobility, and electronics.
WRF Managing Director emphasizes that sourcing and using these resources sustainably is imperative for a green transition. Empa’s Head of Technology and Society Laboratory underscores the importance of understanding energy-material dynamics to respect planetary limits during the renewable energy shift.
Crucial for the clean energy transition, minerals like copper, graphite, cobalt, and nickel are essential for batteries in electric vehicles and wind turbines. However, the extraction process contributes to environmental issues. The International Energy Agency forecasts a quadruple demand increase for critical raw materials by 2040, intensifying sustainability scrutiny on mining projects.
The 5th UN Environment Assembly resolved for enhanced environmental sustainability management of minerals. Switzerland, co-chairing with Pakistan, emphasizes global cooperation for sustainable solutions. Empa, through its Technology and Society Laboratory, aims to foster circular economies by researching materials and technology while responsibly using natural resources.
As the world navigates a transition to greener practices, responsible mineral and metal use is key to mitigating environmental and social challenges. The upcoming Geneva events underscore the urgency of international collaboration and sustainable practices for a truly green transition.