Minerals are Essential to address Climate Change and meet Sustainable Development Goals
In 2013, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) launched the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The RFG initiative includes a diverse group of geoscientists, environmental and social scientists and economists, drawn from a range of institutions with diverse private and public experience in exploration, mining and mineral policy, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
During its most recent workshop held in Namibia from July 25-30, 2015, which I had the pleasure of attending, the group noted the often neglected linkages between solutions to global change concerns such as climate change and mineral resource adequacy. Attempts to mitigate society’s carbon footprint while sustaining an adequate pace of development necessarily involve an adequate and reliable supply of mineral raw materials. However, this issue has received minimal global policy attention. The workshop aimed to develop an expert consensus document to raise the profile of this issue to the highest level of international decision-making.
The expert group substantiated the following key premises to develop an action agenda:
- The 20th century was characterized by improvements in living standards for billions of people worldwide but this change was underpinned by a dramatic increase in utilization of water, energy and mineral resources.
- Recycling and substitution will play an important role in supply but cannot eliminate the demand for primary resources in coming decades. This is largely because mineral stocks are locked in durable infrastructure that cannot be recycled immediately as well as broader supply constraints of such materials.
- However, with a declining rate of mineral deposit discoveries, threats to global trade in mineral —> Read More