The entire western industrialization and lifestyle are enabled by the exploitation of the third-world poor and off-shoring pollution to the third world on a global scale. Whenever we talk about natural resources, we are confronted with the same problem. Oil from where? Cobalt from where? Uranium from where? Gas from where? Lithium from where? Rare earth from where? Gold from where? Etc.
Are we really becoming cleaner and more sustainable, or are switching from one form of extractive, exploitative energy source to another, and we still close our eyes to obvious exploitation, poorly paid labour, slavery or even death of others, including children in cobalt, lithium, diamond, gold mining and drilling oil (DRC, Nigeria) in Africa, South America. Mining is mining. Whether it's for gas, oil or minerals.
It's all recorded history. Resource extraction at its best and we all live, depend, benefit, we are all part of the problem. The problem is our lust for 'commodities' and greedy capitalist conglomerates, who put profit before people. Question of business ethic, not about saving planet and people. Net zero can't happen from electrical grids. They are all powered 100 percent by petroleum. Every alternative energy is reliant on petroleum and natural gas. No net zero until something different, like alien technology comes along.
The exploitative tendencies of people including exploitation of both nature and other people, have expanded to the point that humanity faces a crisis of overexploitation. And in the same time some people are living large, while others are struggling to get by. 85 percent of all of the growth in global wealth has accrued to the wealthiest (1 %), while more than half the world's population lives on incomes between $2 and $10 per day. Exploitation of resources and people remain part of the industrial economy. Humanity needs to rethink its economic operating systems and consider less exploitative ways to live. Politicians and economists will try to maintain the current industrial system as much as possible even though this system is inherently unsustainable, due to the fact that it depends overwhelmingly on fossil fuels. In the global growing economy transition to sustainable energy will be harder, very expensive and will require more energy.
The production of energy would need to increase by 35% in order to supply the same level of net energy to society, during the transition. The world's richest countries exploitation of the resources of the rest of the world is growing. Energy issues have always been important in international relations. But recent years may have become even more important than in the past due to the widespread awareness of existing limits to energy sources and negative climate impacts. In 2021, two thirds (76%) of Europe's energy consisted of burning fossil fuels-gas (34%), oil (31%) and coal (11%). Renewable energy, including hydropower, solar, wind and biofuels accounted to 14% with nuclear making up the remaining 10%. Current demand for fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) is 66% of total energy demand.
Source IEA World Outlook 2022. The remaining sources include nuclear power, biofuels, hydro and other renewable such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. The global energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels and they account for more than 80 percent of energy consumption, only Iceland obtains almost 100% clean energy, volcanic activity on the island provides significant geothermal energy source. Brazil and Finland (40%), France (49%), Norway (66%) and Switzerland (49%) do renewable energy, and globally just 16 percent of primary energy come from low carbon sources -nuclear and renewables. Countries with the most valuable natural resource reserves, mining, oil gas are China, U.S., Russia, Australia, Canada, India, Iran, Iraq, Brazil, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia. Energetically self-sufficient countries are Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malesia, Mongolia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea.
China is the world’s largest electricity producing country followed by U.S. and India. Russia holds the world’s largest proved natural gas, oil and gold reserves. Africa is home to about 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 12 percent of the world’s oil and 8 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves. Latin America or Western hemisphere has a unique advantage in global energy market. It is rich in natural resources, from conventional fuels (oil and natural gas) to critical minerals such as lithium for batteries. And it has abundant potential of solar and wind energy, and advanced energy technologies and nuclear energy. Argentina and Brazil are pioneers in renewable energy investment and enjoy high level of hydropower.
It is feasible and possible to grow economies increase well-being and remain within planetary boundaries, through a combination of resource efficiency, climate mitigation, carbon removal and biodiversity protection policies. The international community has set high ambitions for global prosperity which require large amounts of natural resources to fuel economic development and the attendant improvements in human well-being across the globe.
We need to understand the impact of our growing resource use. Currant natural resource use and management is unsustainable, while implementing resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production that decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and helps to support more equal distribution of income, improves well-being, reduces resources use across countries, and resource the future we want. The use of natural resources has more than tripled since 1970, and continues to grow.
Earth resources are not unlimited and the real tragedy is that some kinds of resources are exhaustible, they are non-renewable. And the global resource problem is that people consume without any limitation and deplete the reserves of natural elements of planetary eco-system and the conditions for the existence of the biosphere, including people and society. Humanity consumes more resources than the planet can produced. Growing demand for energy sources, low gas and oil prices, high production rates and the current level of proven reserves these fuels will last humanity no more than 60 years.
The threat of the depletion and the industrial and economic systems makes us develop innovation solutions to rational resource management including resource substitution. Renewable technologies such as battery systems, solar panels, wind turbines, low carbon hydrogen rely on minerals and metals. The energy transition is expected to massively boost demand for these minerals and metals.
Demand for minerals such as graphite, lithium and cobalt could increase fivefold by 2050 to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies and more than 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to realise the Paris Agreement’s goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are long way away from the goal to shift towards a low carbon energy system. The war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia have disrupted commodity markets and the energy prices have increased the cost of producing metals and minerals, driving up the cost of the renewable energy.
The world will meet high mineral demand from mineral rich countries in the developing world, as lithium reserves in ‘lithium triangle’-Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, the largest cobalt reserves in Democratic Republic of Congo, highly concentrated bauxite reserves in Brazil, Guinea, Indonesia and Jamaica. The opportunities for growth around the green energy transition multiply and mineral-rich development countries can play a crucial role in realising a low carbon inclusive and resilient future. The business opportunities associated with a mining boom could vulnerable to corruption. Companies may be increasingly tempted to offer bribes especially in a highly speculative context characterized by geopolitical competition between economic superpowers to secure transition mineral supply. Some minerals and metals are located in unmined environmentally fragile areas in countries that are sensitive to environmental and social impacts. For example, mining projects in the Argentina, Bolivia, Chile-could further strain the region’s limited water resources. The procurement of goods and services by mining companies can be vulnerable to corruption.
Governments of resource-rich countries should promote transparency and accountability of the sector to mitigate these risks and realize their mining potential. Some resource-rich countries seek to take advantage of global competition for transition minerals by expanding the role of state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) in the mining sector (Indonesia, Congo). If the G7 countries ignore mineral governance and corruption risks, they will be unable to secure reliable supplies, and also diminish the potential for citizens of producer. Without effective policies and well-governed institutions in major producer countries, effective scale-up and stable supply will be elusive.
Renewable energy will play a key role in the decarbonization of our energy systems in the coming decades. Globally around one-quarter of our electricity comes from renewables. Since transport and heating tend to be harder to decarbonize, they are more reliant on oil and gas. Renewables include electricity production from hydropower, solar, wind, biomass waste, geothermal, wave and tidal sources. For example, Brazil’s share of electricity that comes from renewable technologies is 77%, Australia 29,15%, Argentina 25,35%, U.S. 20,75%, Russia 20%. In 2019 around 7% of global energy came from hydropower and just over 2% of global electricity comes from solar technologies. Solar generation at scale-compared to hydropower -is relatively modern renewable-energy source, but growing quickly in many countries across the world. Nuclear energy alongside hydropower -has been a key source of low-carbon energy for many countries across the world in recent decades. Decarbonization is happening, but not nearly fast enough.
Oil and gas are the world’s largest energy sources, oil is the dominant source of energy for the transport sector in particular, gas is major provider of electricity production and a key source of heat. In 2021 EU imported 83% of natural gas. Since the war in Ukraine gas and oil imports to EU from Russia have been significantly reduced. These have mainly been compensated by a sharp increase in imports of liquified natural gas (LNG) particularly from U.S. and EU will pay more owing to transport and liquefaction/gasification costs. Between January and November 2022, Russia (pipeline gas +LNG import) stood for more than a quarter of EU gas import, another import came from Algeria 11,6%, US 9%, Norway 8%, Saudi Arabia and UK both 7%, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Egypt and Israel.
The European Union is investing billions in infrastructure in its efforts to replace Russian fuels with liquefied natural gas. And it doesn’t make sense to invest in LNG if the EU has announced its intent to become climate-neutral by 2050. LNG imports to Europe have increased by 58%, and Germany, Italy, Greece, Ireland, France Netherland and Poland are expending their infrastructure to receive LNG. (And they have oil and gas pipelines through which they received cheap Russian gas) The new EU LNG terminals will not meet European Union gas needs. Policy makers are selling the story that LNG infrastructure is ‘hydrogen ready’ and it will become greener, but the switch to hydrogen is not settled and it would require significant investments for safety systems (because hydrogen is more explosive) All hydrogen must first be generated sustainably by wind power, or solar energy and transported to Europe. The European member states are working together with other alternative suppliers. There could be significant cost implications for Europe as it looks elsewhere for gas and oil supplies.
Despite the sanctions against Russia almost all EU countries continue to buy Russian oil, indirectly through other countries. Russia was the main EU supplier of crude oil, natural gas and solid fossil fuels, in 2020, almost three quarters of the extra-EU crude oil imports come from Russia (29%). Cheap Russian oil and gas were good for EU industry and economy. The introduction of sanctions against Russia from western countries has led to tremendous inflation and energy price rising. The whole of Europe has fallen into their trap to Russia and their nightmare is how they will increase their supplies of energetic resources. EU plan includes support for industries to replace gas with hydrogen, biogas and biomethane to further reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Despite challenges and significant impact to society Europe is trying to rebalance its gas supply and replace Russian gas imports well before 2030. A total loss of Russian oil and gas exports would be very damaging for global GDP, and much higher prices would drive to less economic activity.
Traders at the Financial Times conference said they broadly expected oil prices to rise in the second half this year triggered by the issues in the banking sector and will only make the oil and gas market More bullish after the summer drillers lower investment. The predictions are that oil prices will soar very high for a barrel latter this year, driven by rising demand in China as its economy reopens. The efficient and sensible use of energy combined with a rapid shift to renewables will increase energy security, build resilient economies, and help avoid the worst impact of climate change. But first …Let’s stop the wars and armaments.