I was very pleased to give a keynote presentation at the Universities of St Andrews and Bonn symposium on Sustainable Resource Use: from Coring to Coding, on the 17th October at Scotland House in Brussels. In this public presentation, I gave a geologist’s view of the challenges facing the drive towards zero carbon futures. I made the point that Europe is one of the world’s largest consumers of metals and other critical resources, but it contributes next to nothing to the production of these metals. Is it ethical for governments to announce targets for zero carbon futures, but then to do nothing actually to ensure the availability of the resources that are implicit in those targets?
I was joined on the stage by Professor Aimee van Wynsberghe, University of Bonn (talking about the sustainability of AI) and moderator Vasukeios Rizos from the Centre for European Policy Studies.
I used my experience looking at some of Europe’s most promising critical metal exploration projects, areas with the potential to address significant percentages of global demand. However in many cases, these projects are stalled because of local objections. Is Europe comfortable therefore with outsourcing all its critical metal demands as well as being vulnerable to sudden closure of supply as geopolitical alliances change?
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