Global action on mineral supplies needed to meet net zero goals – by Colin Packham (Australian Financial Review – July 13, 2022)

Global action is needed to ensure there are sufficient supplies of minerals required to build renewable energy generation assets, the vice chairman of S&P Global and energy markets expert Daniel Yergin has warned, because without them the cost of zero emission projects will soar.

Mr Yergin said that while the goal of reaching net zero by 2050 or earlier is clear, there remains significant uncertainty about how countries will achieve this, and less clarity still on the volume of minerals and materials that will be needed to build assets such as solar panels and wind turbines.

“Much greater examination is needed on the minerals that will be needed as the building blocks of net zero emissions and the availability of them,” Mr Yergin told the federal government-organised Sydney Energy Forum on Wednesday. “It’s a big question, a very important question, and it will loom larger as the drive for net zero emissions increases.”

Alluding to critical minerals, which are used in smartphones, computers, rechargeable batteries and electric cars, as well as defence and space technology, Mr Yergin said global supply tightness has been complicated by geopolitical tensions, “as we now see with semiconductors that are caught up in what has been called the great power competition”.

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