We Don’t Mine Enough Rare Earth Metals to Replace Fossil Fuels With Renewable Energy

Oops. Not only is rare earth mining filthy … we don’t have enough mines to replace fossil fuels.

A new scientific study supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure warns that the renewable energy industry could be about to face a fundamental obstacle: shortages in the supply of rare metals.

To meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, renewable energy production has to scale up fast. This means that global production of several rare earth minerals used in solar panels and wind turbines—especially neodymium, terbium, indium, dysprosium, and praseodymium—must grow twelvefold by 2050.

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Fig 1. Graph depicting global critical metal demand for wind and solar panels, between 2020 and 2050, compared with the 2017 level of annual metal production (2017 = 1).

But according to the new study by Dutch energy systems company Metabolic, the “current global supply of several critical metals is insufficient to transition to a renewable energy system.”

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Bioenergy Climate Bomb

Trees are not the solution to high CO2 despite what “scientists” say.

I’m not worried about CO2, but I am worried about the governments and people who lie and say burning trees is low-CO2. Some people get it.

KATOWICE, Poland – Today, it’s being called the bomb that could explode the United Nations carbon climate emissions accounting system ­– and possibly destabilize the global climate.

When first conceived, this bomb was thought to be a boon: turn trees and woody biomass into wood pellets. Burn that woody biomass at power plants instead of coal to generate electricity. Plant more trees where the wood was harvested to offset the emissions produced by burning pellets. Then call it green and celebrate a sustainable way to reduce coal emissions.

Some 20 years ago, bioenergy produced from biomass was seen as the next new thing, and a valuable sustainable resource. And because it was deemed renewable, countries that burned biomass – wood pellets instead of coal – would not be required to count those carbon emissions. All that carbon dioxide was believed to be absorbed by the new tree seedlings.

For the purpose of United Nations carbon accounting policy, established under the Kyoto Protocol, the burning of biomass was established as, and is still considered, carbon neutral.

But in recent years, the supposed benign process has been revealed through a series of scientific studies and reports to be a dangerous fraud. It is the ticking bomb underlying the UN accounting system; a potentially large-scale hidden, unreported source of carbon emissions that helps developed countries to meet their Paris pledges.

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