A new form of organized crime has recently been emerging in the Amazon: illegal mining. Miners fell trees, use high-grade explosives to oblast soils and dredge riverbeds. But the impacts go beyond environmental damages, bringing with it a slew of other social problems. Peace researcher Adriana Abdenur urges policymakers to improve coordination and argues that diplomacy may help prevent further conflicts, corruption and crime.
Resource consumption has grown exponentially over the past: between 1970 and 2010, the quantity of extracted materials has tripled. Not only the overall amount of resources extracted and consumed has risen rapidly, but also the diversity of resources has grown. While half a century ago, only a few materials such as wood, brick, iron, copper, and plastics were in high demand worldwide, today products are more complex and require a wide range of materials.
Current trends depict an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation. Renewables have moved to the centre of the global energy landscape. Technological advances and falling costs have made renewables grow faster than any other energy source. Many renewable technologies are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the power sector, even before taking into account their contributions to the battles against air pollution and climate change. These trends are creating an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation leading to shifts that will affect almost all countries and will have wide-ranging geopolitical consequences.
This report published by IRENA's Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy & Industry, and the German Federal Foreign Office looks into these developments from a foreign policy perspective.
Finding domestic alternatives for rare earths has become a matter of national security, according to a recently released Pentagon report. The United States’ defense, economy, and infrastructure depend on the electronics that rely on these mineral elements. Trade tensions between the United States and China over rare earths illustrate an important dynamic surrounding little-seen building blocks of our daily life.
The pro-coal position of Poland’s energy ministry has thrown sand into the country’s climate diplomacy as COP24 president-designate Michał Kurtyka intensifies his diplomatic tour ahead of the United Nation’s annual climate meeting later this year in Katowice.
A new report analyses how the transition to a low-carbon economy – and the minerals and metals required to make that shift – could affect fragility, conflict, and violence dynamics in mineral-rich states.
Australia’s new prime minister will not walk away from the Paris climate agreement, although his new policies now make it unlikely the country will meet its emissions reduction goal. Ongoing trade talks with the EU could also hinge on how climate policy continues to develop.
Mine closures have caused social and political turmoil in many regions, for example in South Africa. But there are ways of planning and managing the phase-out so that when the inevitable happens, people are better prepared. A new study looks at opportunities beyond mining and finds that infrastructure that supports mining can also be put to new use.
As the world's biggest polluter, what China decides to do with its energy policy matters to the whole planet. And while progress on the domestic front has rightly won Beijing praise from climate scientists, China is the world's largest funder of coal plants overseas. Is the country employing double standards?
The UK has been accused of trying to “fudge” how much money it spends on subsidising coal mining and fossil fuel use despite its pledge to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020.
Environmental peacebuilding strives to reduce conflict risks associated with natural resources and to enable societies to profit fully from their natural resource wealth. In order to be successful, it must follow a context-sensitive approach. Nina Engwicht shows that, in Sierra Leone, the environmental risk factors for conflict have only been addressed at the surface.
Working with over 30 partners, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently launched the Resource Watch. The platform provides a wide array of data sets on various sustainability topics, ranging from food security to urban climate challenges.
"From Riches to Rags?" looks into the subject of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector. Stranded assets are assets that lose value, or generate new liabilities, before they reach the end of their (planned) economic life. In this paper, assets primarily refer to fossil fuel resources (oil, gas and coal) that need to stay in the ground because otherwise the 2-degree target specified in the Paris Agreement would be jeopardised.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation”, realized by adelphi and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, was recently displayed in El Salvador in cooperation with the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) as part of the Climate Diplomacy initiative. The exhibition illustrates the dramatic and growing impact of global environmental changes. It was discussed among experts and visitors, continuing to support a broader dialogue on sustainability in Latin America.
Representatives from around the world are meeting in Bonn this week to discuss progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement. A large part of this challenge involves rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable energy, while curbing fossil fuel use – but little attention has been paid to the minerals that will be needed to build these technologies.