MINES, MINERALS, AND “GREEN” ENERGY: A REALITY CHECK

As policymakers have shifted focus from pandemic challenges to economic recovery, infrastructure plans are once more being actively discussed, including those relating to energy. Green energy advocates are doubling down on pressure to continue, or even increase, the use of wind, solar power, and electric cars. Left out of the discussion is any serious consideration of the broad environmental and supply-chain implications of renewable energy.

As I explored in a previous paper, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking,”1 many enthusiasts believe things that are not possible when it comes to the physics of fueling society, not least the magical belief that “clean-tech” energy can echo the velocity of the progress of digital technologies. It cannot.

This paper turns to a different reality: all energy-producing machinery must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system, in short, is actually “renewable,” since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware that inevitably wears out. Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy.

This means that any significant expansion of today’s modest level of green energy—currently less than 4% of the country’s total consumption (versus 56% from oil and gas)—will create an unprecedented increase in global mining for needed minerals, radically exacerbate existing environmental and labor challenges in emerging markets (where many mines are located), and dramatically increase U.S. imports and the vulnerability of America’s energy supply chain.

link

Beyond the points made in this linked paper, we are doing forest devastation in Europe and USA. Living healthy forests are habitats for plants and animals, they sequester carbon, they produce oxygen. They are beautiful, wonderful, and good for all of us, plants and animals included. Europe and USA destroy massive amounts of healthy forest just to burn their “biomass,” which is fraudulently considered “renewable.” ABN

See : …Biomass, of which wood from forests is the main source, now makes up almost 60% of the EU’s renewable energy supply, more than solar and wind combined, and a vast cross-border industry has emerged to meet this demand

And: American South emerged as Europe’s primary source of biomass imports

Ancient trees vital to forest health

LISLE, Ill. (Jan. 31, 2022)—New research suggests that ancient trees possess far more than an awe-inspiring presence and a suite of ecological services to forests—they also sustain the entire population of trees’ ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

link

See also: …Biomass, of which wood from forests is the main source, now makes up almost 60% of the EU’s renewable energy supply, more than solar and wind combined, and a vast cross-border industry has emerged to meet this demand

And: American South emerged as Europe’s primary source of biomass imports

Bad science, false virtue, bad laws lead to deforestation in Europe

…A flaw in the legislation meant that woody biomass was fully categorised as renewable, even if it came not just from wood residues or waste, but from whole trees. This meant that companies could directly harvest forests for pellets – rather than making pellets from the by-products of timber cut for other uses – in the name of sustainable forest management.

…Biomass, of which wood from forests is the main source, now makes up almost 60% of the EU’s renewable energy supply, more than solar and wind combined, and a vast cross-border industry has emerged to meet this demand.

‘Carbon-neutrality is a fairy tale’: how the race for renewables is burning Europe’s forests