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The transition to a low-carbon economy has tradeoffs to consider

Getting narrow on a topic many of us try to balance in our ethical investment oversight efforts – transition to a low-carbon economy has tradeoffs to consider.

Recent research from S&P Global “Rocks and Hard Places: The Complicated Nexus of Energy Transition Minerals and Biodiversity” looks at the increased demand for “transition minerals” (cobalt, lithium and copper) key to low carbon tech, and the impact increased mining of these minerals has on biodiversity loss.

Their research finds that “29% of all mines are in Key Biodiversity Areas [KBA] are for transition minerals” compared to 5% for all currently operating mines in the world.

“This presents a complicated problem: how does the world attain the mineral resources needed to enable the energy transition while managing the potential negative impact on biodiversity?”

The report finds mining companies are lagging in addressing this issue, “the share of companies with a nature-related pledge of any kind was 20%.” But notes “That could change if the regulatory landscape on biodiversity begins to shift” noting the following efforts:

The report has excellent background on the connections between mining and economic consequences of biodiversity loss for those who want to explore further.

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