Reports: World Bank Warns of Environmental Risk from Clean Energy Transition

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Growing demand for metals and minerals used in clean technologies could present new environmental challenges for the planet unless decarbonisation efforts are effectively managed, the World Bank has warned.

In order to meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping average global temperature increases within 2C of warming, economies around the world are increasingly investing in renewable power and clean technologies, such as battery electric vehicles, solar panels and wind farms.

However, the World Bank warns such technologies are “more materially-sensitive” to produce in comparison to existing fossil fuel supply systems, according to Financial Times’ reports.

“If not properly managed minerals [to combat] climate change could constitute a bottleneck vis-a-vis our policies on global warming,” Riccardo Puliti, global head of the energy and extractives practice group at the World Bank, told the newspaper.

Metals demand could double in order to feed construction of wind turbines and solar panels, while demand for lithium used in batteries could surge by as much as 1,000 per cent, according to the World Bank.

The FT cites a World Bank report which states that: “Simply put, a green technology future is materially intensive and, if not properly managed, could bely the efforts and policies of [resource] supplying countries to meet their objectives of meeting climate and related Sustainable Development Goals. It also carries potentially significant impacts for local ecosystems, water systems, and communities.”

Puliti is quoted as urging governments to realise that mineral development is a “compliment and not a competitor to a greener, more sustainable future”, as well as calling for greater dialogue between miners and clean energy advocates.