EU’s new critical raw materials act could be a recipe for conflict – by Larisa Stanciu and Lotte Hoex (EU Observer – March 24, 2023)

Last week, the European Commission unveiled the Critical Raw Materials Act to reduce its dependence on third countries for key raw materials deemed indispensable for the green and digital transitions.

The proposed legislation seems to be a first step in trying to decouple the EU from its dependencies on third countries for critical and strategic raw materials. However, the continent will never be fully autonomous because of its limited reserves.

This implies multiple hurdles, namely social unrest, and potential conflict risks. As a global peace-building organization (Search for Common Ground) and a research centre (IPIS), we know how important it is to recognize and understand conflict dynamics in communities.

The story of climate change is a familiar one. The need for immediate action is clear. But an expedited transition to a low-carbon economy, bears its own risk. Solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries and other energy technologies require minerals including aluminum, cobalt and lithium. To meet the growing demand for clean energy technology, mining for green energy minerals will accelerate exponentially.

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