“Renewables get cheaper when it's still a small system. But if it can be shown that we don't have enough minerals in the ground to make a replacement system, we will hit an asymptote in the market where all of a sudden there's now scarcity of metal supply, and the systems you want to use are no longer available on the market…
“So when I say shit's gonna get real, it’s when the mining industry now has to run in a situation where it is on non-fossil fuel systems only; the manufacturing supply chain at the moment is only conceptual and we just haven't thought it through. Fossil fuels are a hidden subsidy for everything. Take that away and you've now got a hidden penalty.
“I think a lot of mining and a lot of manufacturing will just simply stop.”
You can’t go green without going small.
Our fossil-fuelled economy is destabilising the planet. But a renewable economy might not be much better. Simon Michaux and his team at the Geological Survey of Finland have been researching how much minerals and materials we have on earth to build our renewable energy. They’ve found that we simply do not have enough—and mining for those materials would bears a huge environmental cost.
On this episode, Simon walks us through the research, the possible outcomes from calculated energy contraction to collapse, what policymakers are doing with this information, and how the geopolitics of the US-China proxy war could make the green transition impossible for the West.
Planet: Critical investigates why the world is in crisis—and what to do about it. Support the project with a paid subscription.