Miners at work on the flank of the "Cerro Rico", Potosi, Bolivia, Photo (CC BY-SA 2.5) by Christiane Meneboeuf (cropped from original)

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Some are admitting the physical economic realities of an attempted global transition to "green energy," but will they admit the consequences of those realities, and motivations behind them?

Brian Lantz recently pointed me to a new report from the International Energy Agency, "The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions."  This report shows that a global adherence to the "green energy" objectives being called for by Joe Biden, John Kerry, the Climate Paris Climate Accord, the World Economic Forum, etc. would require mining and production of key minerals at rates far beyond present global capacities (according to the required levels of wind, solar, electric vehicles, and battery storage). 

As covered in a May 11 Wall Street Journal opinion, "the IEA finds that with a global energy transition like the one President Biden envisions, demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would explode, rising by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040." 

As stated in the Executive Summary of the IEA report, 

"The shift to a clean energy system is set to drive a huge increase in the requirements for these minerals, meaning that the energy sector is emerging as a major force in mineral markets. Until the mid-2010s, for most minerals, the energy sector represented a small part of total demand. However, as energy transitions gather pace, clean energy technologies are becoming the fastest-growing segment of demand. In a scenario that meets the Paris Agreement goals (as in the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario [SDS]), their share of total demand rises significantly over the next two decades to over 40% for copper and rare earth elements, 60-70% for nickel and cobalt, and almost 90% for lithium. EVs and battery storage have already displaced consumer electronics to become the largest consumer of lithium and are set to take over from stainless steel as the largest end user of nickel by 2040." 

The Wall Street Journal states the obvious, “the world doesn’t have the capacity to meet such demand,” and notes that it takes about 16 years to set up a new mining operation in the United States presently—meaning Biden’s 2035 timeframe for 100% carbon-free electricity will have passed before we could expand U.S. mining operations

Beyond these key minerals, earlier studies have shown that steel, concrete, and cement requirements for wind and solar are 10 to 50 times higher than nuclear power, per unit of energy produced (US Department of Energy's 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review, Chapter 10).

The IEA report hints at the underlying physical economic realities when they call green energy a "shift from a fuel-intensive to a material-intensive energy system."  More accurately, as Lyndon LaRouche continually stressed, wind and solar are inherently low energy flux-density sources of power, meaning they require far higher physical inputs (capital goods, labor) to produce a given amount of energy for the economy (when compared with coal, natural gas, or nuclear).  Below I've included a video excerpt from a recent class where I discussed this in more detail (although before seeing the IEA report). 

But what's the obvious point not being stated? 

The current world population—at present living standards (as inadequate as they are)—simply can not be supported by this type of green energy program.  As I covered in series of articles in 2020, the per capita productive energy consumption of a nation is one of the most important indicators of the health of that economy and its people (see, Part 3: Zero Growth Kills Millions and Part 5: World Energy Needs). 

Dramatically increasing the physical costs per unit of energy produced is a backwards step in the evolutionary development of mankind, and can only lead to one result: a reduction of the global population, with substandard conditions of life the majority of those remaining. 

But isn't that what the Malthusian movement has been calling for all along?  The naïve might view this as an unfortunate or unintended consequence of responding to a so-called climate change catastrophe.  Those familiar with the history of the formation of the radical environmentalist movement can properly see it the other way round, the massive propaganda campaign about a so-called climate change catastrophe as a consequence of a Malthusian ideology. 

Causality matters. 

A useful historical reference point is always the 1960s founding of the World Wildlife Fund by leading eugenicists and NAZI supporters/collaborators, Sir Julian Huxley, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.  The politics and strategy behind this was clear, repackage British imperial policies under the banner of environmentalism. 

Today, as Barbara Boyd recently covered, we have the World Economic Forum leading the Malthusian push (A Conspiracy of Satanic Morons: Biden and the World Economic Forum).

From the time the mythical Prometheus defied the Olympian gods through today, the battle has been between those who wish to uplift and advance mankind with new forms of fire against the oligarchical elite who wish to suppress and stupefy.