The World Economic Forum has decreed the West should give up the idea of owning personal vehicles, smartphones and computers in order to effect a rapid revolution away from fossil fuels and toward green energy.
“We need a clean energy revolution, and we need it now,” the WEF asserts. “But this transition from fossil fuels to renewables will need large supplies of critical metals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, to name a few.”
Shortages of those materials, World Economic Forum Responsible Sourcing lead Winnie Yeh writes, “could raise the costs of clean energy technologies.”
While these metals are found across the world, with 8 million tons in Chile, 2.7 million tons in Australia, 2 million tons in Argentina, and 1 million tons in China – 2018 estimates suggested 14 million tons is available worldwide – mining the material appears relatively slow going. Klaus Schwab and Bill Clinton in 2009 (Robert Scoble / Flickr) 51,000 tons were mined in Australia in 2018, compared to 16,000 tons in Chile, 8,000 tons in China, and 6,200 tons in Argentina. Assuming these countries continued at that rate of production, it would take over 172 years to exhaust the estimated total supply.
There are three possible solutions to the shortage of critical rare earth minerals, writes Yeh, but the most important is that people in the West “go from owning to using” vehicles and electronic devices.
Yeh argues that people with an extra “mobile phone” or “an unused hard drive” or a vehicle that is “driven just 4% of the time” are “not at all resource sufficient.”
The solution, the WEF reveals, is the sharing economy. Klaus Schwab and Chinese business magnate Jack Ma in 2018 (World Economic Forum / Ben Hider / Flickr) “More sharing can reduce ownership of idle equipment and thus material usage,” wrote Yeh for the […]
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