How can we support the transition to renewable energy without causing further damage to the environment?

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You may have heard that driving the global energy transition requires increasing mining of the key metals needed to make solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars.

At the same time, mining of coal for power plants should also decline.

However, there are concerns among some researchers about how this increased mining will affect biodiversity and the environment we are trying to protect.

Australia already has one of the highest mammal extinction rates in the world, and has lost most of its forests since colonization.

The International Energy Agency estimates that reaching net-zero global carbon emissions by 2050 will require six times the amount of transition metals currently being mined over the next 20 years.

There is debate as to whether this results in more or less total annual extraction of ore (rock containing one or more minerals).

But researchers at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) say changes in targeted metals could affect where mining takes place, which could encroach on areas of conservation value. It states that there is.

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