Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Catch-22 for Climate Change efforts that can lead to Win-Win or Lose-Lose, depending upon our actions. Can we support skillful and appropriate actions?

In clarifying climate change and what to do, here are some facts that I had not previously thought about until the following article was sent to me. Below are some excerpts which summarize the main points:

"To put it simply: We have forgotten that every product we build is made out of physical stuff with essential scientific properties—stuff that has to come from somewhere. And the stuff that next-generation technologies like electric cars, wind turbines, fuel cells, LED lights and solar energy panels are made of comes from somewhat exotic minerals that must be mined.

Until World War II the elements required for technological innovation had fairly familiar names: copper, because of its ability to carry and conduct electricity long distances, or iron because of its structural properties as steel. These metals, or more properly elements, allowed us to build steam engines and combustion cars and to wire our cities for electricity.

Beginning in the 1970s, though, we began to make discoveries in materials science that formed the basis for small electric motors that could run cars and photon-collecting materials that could generate electricity. Our elemental toolbox moved further down the periodic table, and greater technological capabilities followed.

The connection between the expanded elemental palette and technological progress is not coincidental."

The article concludes:

"If our goal is to minimize environmental harm in the process of acquiring these essential mineral resources, there is no better place than in the U.S., where mining is highly regulated, transparent and based on the safest, most state-of-the-art process. The not-in-my-backyard mentality will also leave America dependent on foreign powers for materials critical to technological innovation, and consequently for our energy security.

The connection between green technology and mining can make the U.S. a world leader in clean energy. Trying to regulate mining out of existence is not only shortsighted but irresponsible. To save our planet we must find ways to use the resources it grants us to do so, and environmentalists can help ensure that we become responsible stewards of green-technology elements."

The article is here:  

And a follow-up summary on studies which have the latest of scientific findings is here: