There are a lot of people who are convinced that in just a few short years, the U.S. will be powered completely by fossil fuel-free renewable electricity. EVs will replace ICE-powered cars, and wind and solar will supplant coal and natural gas to generate all the juice needed. It’s a glorious vision.
The problem is it’s a fiction. For a whole bunch of different reasons, that CO2-free utopia not only isn’t going to happen in the next few years–it’s not even going to happen in the foreseeable future.
But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue reductions of carbon dioxide emissions where it makes sense, and where we get the biggest bang for our buck. We have the technology already available to do just that. But we’re not on track to deliver it on even a limited basis, because the materials needed, including basics like iron and copper, and minerals for more advanced technologies like rare earths, all require mining.
“Mining really touches everything in our lives,” said Kathy Graul, Public Relations Manager at Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, which has been working to start up an underground nickel- and copper-mining operation in northern Minnesota since 2010.