The Hard Math of Minerals

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Today’s plans to decarbonize global energy systems, which center on a massive expansion in the use of solar, wind, and battery technologies, need to better account for the high environmental and economic costs of materials and minerals.

The unavoidable scale of materials demand will have significant impacts on commodities markets and prices, as well as on the environment. Most policy formulations fail to account for these implications. The country is long overdue for thoughtful and realistic planning that honestly acknowledges the tradeoffs and consequences arising from the materials needed to accelerate what is being called the energy transition.