The rise of green energy technologies required for a low-carbon future is expected to lead to significant growth in demand for a wide range of minerals and metals, such as aluminum, copper, lead, lithium, manganese, nickel, silver, steel, and zinc and rare earth minerals, according to a new World Bank report, ”The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low-Carbon Future.”
The report indicates that this would open a new window of opportunities in the extractive sector for resource rich countries.
This calls for appropriate strategies and investments in the sector to ensure that they benefit fully.
There has been a global concern for the world to reduce global warming by 2 Degree Celsius in order to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Furthermore, many developing countries lack geographical data on good geographical data on mineral deposits. There is the need to develop geographical mapping in these areas. Africa has not rare data for the continent’s deposits of minerals and metals.
In addition, efforts by countries to exploit these resources come with environmental challenges that might derail the chances of meeting the global target of fighting climate change.
Careful planning should be put in place to ensure that communities, ecosystem are not destroyed
According to the world economic forum, an efficient solar cell has been developed that keeps power up to 45% level than previously. This has made a stronger argument for green technologies going to the future.
The International Energy Agency (EIA) projects that solar energy become the world’s largest source of energy by 2050 due to its falling cost and increasing convenience
Solar energy can help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, which we need desperately need to do as our net emission of 37 gigatonnes of CO2 per year are causing destruction on the planet, causing global warming, extreme weather events, and many death
Now, the raw materials for these solar panels and cells are gotten from the extractive sectors. So how would the extractive sector contribute to a low-carbon future?
This calls for tradeoffs between developing these natural resources and the need to fight climate change and the allocation of financial resources. Resource rich countries would argue they need it to develop their economies and the argument for a low carbon future.
Are there other ways to reducing greenhouse emission than switching to low-carbon energy future?
The World steel association agrees that it produces CO2 into the atmosphere thereby causing global warming, it has come out with an improved steel that produces less CO2. More so, it is easily recycled in order to avoid the impact on the environment.
According to the UNEP, building account for 45% of global Greenhouse emissions. There are partially abatement options in the use of energy in lighting, heating and ventilation and the use of appliances.
Buildings are currently concentrated in the cities: Urban populations are about 50% of the world’s population and make up 75% of greenhouse effect (GHE), according to Arup Associates.
The IEA also projects that in order to half global GHE 2C energy efficiency would have to pay a huge role in that respect. Multiple energy efficiency methods would have come in building and the transport sectors.
Changing vehicle make up and the materials used to manufacture the car could save energy and generally switching from the use of diesel to the use of electric
cars whose parts would be made of minerals.
The C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Street Declaration, the pioneering city leaders pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that major area of their city is zero emission by 2030.
This is an initiative by the mayors of these big cities meeting the sustainable development goals. How can developing countries replicate such a move to ensure their cities are also emission free?
China is leading the way in renewable energy development thereby driving toward low carbon energy future. Ghana recently entered into a deal with China to mine bauxite in Ghana worth $460m at the current market price to unlock about $15billion of money from China to finance infrastructures in the country.
Ghana according to the Ghana News Agency has proven reserves of about 2.8billion metric tonnes of iron ore, 160 million metric tonnes of bauxite; 430 million metric tons of manganese and 430 metric tons of limestone excluding gold and oil. (GNA, 2017). This would help China in its renewable energy development drive.
The indigenes protested against this move by the government to use the Atiwa forest reserves for the mining of bauxite. The question is, should we leave it underground and not exploit it for economic development? I do think we should approach the exploitation with an environmentally and Community-based strategy that would be mutually beneficial to the country. The communities would not be worse off and the country would also benefit.
There are two points of view regarding the extraction of natural resources being held by naturalists. The first point of view believes that the exploitation of natural resource is vital for development due to the fact that it brings about changes, which promote economic growth. The other school of thought sees it exploitation that leads to the impoverishment of the indigenes and does not promote economic growth and development, this is totally different from what the first group believes. They said it exploitation leads to what they term the resource “curse’’.
These different views being held by them are based on the observation that natural resourced endowed countries such as Norway and Botswana have steadily grown in their economic growth path. However, other countries without natural resource also undergo dynamic economic growth.
A third group, notwithstanding their continued exploitation of the resource, experienced stagnant growth path and sometimes-experienced negative growth in times past.
We in Africa should exploit our natural resources to develop our economies and leave the debate of climate change to the developed economies.
Article: By David A ALEMZERO (Energy and Natural resources economics)