Clean energy technology supply chain needs new standards
these years G7 The meeting is the middle link in the three-act play-after President Biden’s climate leaders summit and before the Glasgow COP Climate Conference.
In fact, according to Patricia Espinosa, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change, the decisions made by the Group of Seven in the coming weeks will contribute to the success of COP26 and a true green recovery from the pandemic And whether countries can achieve long-term goals have a major impact. Goals under the Paris Agreement.
Therefore, this G7 may be more important than a simple gathering of Western powers to read high-level talking points. On the contrary, this year’s gathering may determine the contours of the new global economy.
Achieving the Paris goals will require large-scale deployment of clean energy technologies. The demand generated by this policy will trigger a corresponding and exponential demand for several key minerals.International Energy Agency project By 2040, we need to quadruple the current mineral demand for clean energy technologies and increase it sixfold in order to achieve net zero by 2050.
Think about the scale of the challenge before us. In the past 5,000 years, humans have produced approximately 550 million tons of copper. In the next 25 years, we will need to produce so much again to electrify the world.
However, today’s supply chain is totally unable to meet tomorrow’s demand. First, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency, the largest reserves of metals and minerals required for renewable technologies are weak countries with poor governance records. The World Economic Forum pointed out that the extraction of minerals for batteries, including child labor, health and safety hazards in informal work, poverty and pollution, has caused huge losses to humans and the environment.
Secondly, China currently dominates the procurement, production and processing of the world’s major clean energy minerals, and is the undisputed leader in clean technology manufacturing. Beijing controls about 70% or more of the rare earth elements required for lithium-ion battery metals and processing, high-tech weapon systems and offshore wind turbines, and produces three-quarters of the world’s solar panels.
U.S. and European governments find that China’s relative dominance in key clean energy technologies is polluted Forced labor, Environmental damage and unfair trade practices. The Biden administration is considering whether to impose sanctions for these human rights violations, while the European Union is seeking to include human rights in its green agreement.
G7 leaders must take this opportunity to solve these problems and respond to the calls of the government and business community to establish a more flexible supply chain. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire pointed out on this issue: “We must reduce our dependence on several major countries, especially China, for the supply of certain products” and “strengthen our strategic value Sovereignty in the chain”.
In his thought-provoking BBC Reith Lectures, Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England and current adviser to the British Presidium of COP 26, believes that policymakers and companies must overcome the current news cycle, political elections and quarterly reporting period to resolve “The Tragedy of the Horizon”He believes that by increasing transparency and climate-related financial disclosure requirements, society can begin to value the future. However, in doing so, we must also consider the lack of value and transparency in today’s supply chain.
When it comes to climate change, it is important to work to make up for the tragedy on the horizon. However, free nations must do this while also dealing with today’s tragedies. G7 leaders should reposition a clean energy economy based on shared values.
As the “Financial Times” has pointed out in the past, many countries headed by the United States Energy Resource Governance Initiative Lay the foundation for responsible mineral development. Clean energy companies have begun to rethink and redesign their supply chains commensurate with the scale of future demand. However, the leading democracies have yet to send a clear and collective signal to prioritize transparent and free clean energy markets.
G7 leaders have the opportunity to define a clear standard and integrate our common values, instead of inadvertently rewarding market participants who trample on them.
Frank R Fannon was the first Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources in the United States. He is currently the managing director of Fannon Global Advisors and a senior consultant of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Product description is an online CBritish “Financial Times” comments on the industry