The oceans are suffering from chemical pollution, Texas-size patches of swirling plastic, acidification from climate change and overfishing. To that litany of environmental horrors we may soon add subsea mining. Blame the rise of electric vehicles and their voracious demands for “critical” metals.
Norway, the oil powerhouse whose output helped keep hundreds of millions of cars and trucks rolling on European roads, now wants to do the same for EVs. The government plans to submit a proposal this month to parliament that would allow mineral exploration and extraction near Svalbard, its archipelago in the Arctic.
Amund Vik, state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, told the Financial Times that subsea mining would help Europe meet “the desperate need for minerals, rare earths to make the [energy] transition happen.”
Plans by Norway and other countries to dig up the seabed are more grim evidence that automotive utopia is a myth – there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly car, no matter the propulsion system, and EVs are certainly dirtier than advertised. Manufacturing them may result in wrecking entire ecosystems that had gone largely untouched.