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Turning down the heat: can we mine our way out of the climate crisis?

Crowfoot Mountain, Canada. Kevin Dooley's Pan-American Trek using Google Street View.

"Conference report: "Turning Down The Heat: Can We Mine Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?", 16 November 2020

...The conference highlighted the emerging conflict between growing renewable energy generation and storage capacity – urgently needed to reduce anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions – and the destructive social and environmental effects that mining the metals and minerals required to create that capacity can have. Participants explored ways to mitigate or avoid that conflict through reduced demand for both energy and materials, as well as through improved practices and stricter regulation of mining.

Presenters and participants emphasised the urgency of moving away from fossil energy as quickly and as completely as possible, and the potential of renewable energy to replace it. They also explored the implications of that transition and its requirements for metals and minerals, and the potential for reducing that demand through improved efficiency (both energy and material use), recycling, and circular economies, as well as through alternative technologies and alternative approaches in key areas such as construction and transport. Crucially, they also addressed the potential to limit economies’ energy and material demands through different development strategies, including degrowth in wealthy countries.

By putting the experience of frontline communities – those facing the social and environmental impacts of mining – at the centre of the discussion, the conference put the need for rapid decarbonisation in the context of the ecological and social limits of extraction, whether of fossil fuels or of metals and minerals, and the need for policy and investment direction to consider all of these aspects together, not in isolation...

You can read the full report and its findings here