How The Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans And The Environment

By Paul Driessen

As this paper shows, expanding mining on the scale needed to meet the renewable energy requirements contained in the Green New Deal and other proposed renewable energy mandates would cause unimaginable harm to the environment, wildlife, and humans.

Executive Summary

The Green New Deal (GND)—promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and several other prominent elected officials—aims to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear energy with so-called “renewable” energy sources, primarily wind and solar.

The justification for this extreme policy proposal is based primarily on the fear that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from oil, natural gas, and coal will cause catastrophic global warming, as well as concerns about the alleged dangers of nuclear power sources.

The scientific case that manmade global warming poses an “existential threat” to humanity is highly questionable, according to many scientists, and the safety record for nuclear power in this country thoroughly belies the claims against it.

However, what is beyond dispute is that eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear power would require literally millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, and several billion batteries like the half-ton power sources used in Tesla vehicles. This, in turn, would require a massive worldwide increase in mining for lithium, cobalt, copper, iron, aluminum, and numerous other raw materials.

Current mining operations to supply materials for today’s comparatively small amount of renewable power technology—plus batteries for laptop computers, smartphones, and electric cars—are already causing supply difficulties and serious problems for the environment. These mining operations are also imposing substantial harm on the men, women, and children who work in battery- and renewable energy-related mines, processing plants and factories in other countries.

As this paper shows, expanding mining on the scale needed to meet the renewable energy requirements contained in the Green New Deal and other proposed renewable energy mandates would cause unimaginable harm to the environment, wildlife, and humans.

Paul Driessen is a senior policy advisor with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

Read this as a PDF here:

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Ron Long
April 15, 2020 7:52 am

ÑPaul, I am in general agreement with your report, however, mining does not need to pollute and contaminate. An advanced culture has rules about the entire mining sequence, including establishing transparency committees. Some of the comments your report registered are from environmental hit jobs, for example, the lithium triangle of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. I have worked a lot around the “Salar de Hombre Muerto” and the comments about contaminating the local streams are fabricated nonsense. Salar de HOmbre Muerto is a salar, an internal salt-pan which is the collection point of local “streams” (they only run when there is a significant rain event). There are no streams existing the Salar de Hombre Muerto, it is the terminal point of local drainage. Same for the other salars in the lithium triangle. By the way if you drive across one of these salars you start hoping your vehicle does not have any trouble and strand you, because the stench is gagging. Go Nuclear! Paul, I think your report is good, but contaminated with fake news from some other groups, but keep up the good work. Stay sane and safe.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Ron Long
April 15, 2020 8:55 am

Interesting comment. I agree with both the report and your comment. Sadly, if what you say is accurate (I have no way of knowing which is why I say “if”), those who want to discredit this paper will zero in on those inaccuracies and claim that the entire paper is invalidated due to the errors. A better way to address those issues would be to point out the potential problems and highlight how some countries properly deal with them while also continuing to point out the problems in the Congo and Outer Mongolia. Complete honesty and transparency are required from all sides, especially the anti-GND side given the collective support from politicians, the media, Gollywood, and other detached from reality liberals.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Ron Long
April 15, 2020 8:06 pm

Ron, I’ve commented on articles of Paul Driessens on this topic in the recent past and even copied links regarding child labor in Africa, one from the World Bank that notes 95% of child labor is associated with their own housholds and farms and that there is a strong cultural facet to children working to help family.

Little lithium comes from Africa at present and everywhere it is done using modern technology, in salars in S.America as you point out Ron and hardrock sources in Australia, and others under development in Canada, Brazil, and a few others.

Most cobalt is produced in D R Congo by major modern companies like Glencore. Yes, there are small family producers as there is anywhere in the Third World where a dollar can be made. To these families, the presence of these accessible resources gives them a fairly good living in places where there is otherwise little opportunity so the alternative is poverty which is the biggest killer of them all.

One of my jobs as a geoligist on the Geologist Suvey in Nigeria in the 1960s was to assist artisanal tin producers to explore their deposit, efficiently and safely mine it and concentrate their tin. Some became wealthy, all made their daily bread, and yes the women and children were employed.

I’m not sure if Paul reads comments. If not maybe someone can tell him that Ron is right. He is unwittingly using fake news from other economy destroyers who have been working against real development in Africa for much longer than they hsve been working to destroy that of the Western World.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 15, 2020 8:16 pm

Of course, there are despicable child exploiters with no bounds of decency and humanity (we have them in our society, too). They are also exploited by NGOs who weave the lies about the plight of the children of Africa and Africans detest this characterization. I work in the mining sector and the Gang Green doesn’t need any helping hands.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Ron Long
April 15, 2020 10:07 pm

I worked at Olympic Dam back in the day (copper and uranium).

It was a bit of a paradox. The mining lease – which was much larger than the physical area of the mine and refinery – was in an area that would otherwise be unfenced grazing and hence in many ways was much closer to ‘unspoilt native’ than the surrounding area.

So if there was no mine the area would have been open to grazing and ‘not natural’.

On the other hand if there was no mine there would be no Roxby Down township, no Olympic Dam Village, no power lines running 170km up from Port Augusta, no tailings, no refinery, no mine…

Look, I have absolutely no regrets or shame from working in that industry and no 1st World Guild about my 1st World Toys, but do accept that mining does change the landscape.

Still, happy days. That industry did allow me to once completely confuse an otherwise sweet and polite Greenpeace volunteer for a good 15 minutes by quizzing her on the actual uranium extraction methods in the mine she and her friends were trying to ‘raise awareness’ against. Eventually her friend came over, read the Roxby Downs Districts Squash badge on the hat I was wearing and awkwardly deduced that I actually worked in the industry and hence was NOT their target audience. Happy Days.

John the Econ
April 15, 2020 8:31 am

Every so many months, I get a useful idiot at my doorstep wishing me to sign a petition against a mine somewhere in the state. I usually ask if they are into “green” energy. Of course, they always are. So then I have to ask where all of the stuff that makes “green” energy is going to come from. They don’t know. Then I’ll ask if they are into “locally sourced food”. They are usually most enthusiastic about that.

So then I ask, “Why aren’t you into ‘locally sourced’ minerals?”.


Reply to  John the Econ
April 15, 2020 8:42 am

That’s excellent. I’m going to use that. Thanks!

Reply to  Klem
April 15, 2020 10:36 am

Just be prepared for an answer like “This mine is run by a big multinational corporation. So it doesn’t benefit the local folks”.
Then ask: So you would be OK with the mine if it was locally owned?

Reply to  JonasM
April 15, 2020 3:06 pm

The answer would be yes, useful idiots would believe it. Green leaders will still say yes knowing that it would never be owned and operated by locals and if it was they would label them “Big Business” therefore bad. It’s only good if ran by a green minded commune using only hand tools, no powered equipment.

This is exactly what they did after a burn about a decade ago. There were a bunch of dead but harvestable timber after the fire that the state and timber groups wanted to harvest. Green groups said they wouldn’t allow it unless the trees were harvested by tree huggers with the money going to good causes. There was a two year window to harvest the trees before the wood started to rot and the greens ensured they tied it up to hit the limit leaving the trees to rot in place.

Reply to  Darrin
April 16, 2020 8:20 am

Curious, but wouldn’t rotting wood release more evil gasses (and different, more-evil gasses) than burning? Sounds like a lose-lose-lose scenario.

John the Econ
Reply to  Darrin
April 16, 2020 9:16 am

Living in the northwest and watching the anti-logging folks, I’ve come to the conclusion that if there’s one thing they hate more than anything else, it’s “capitalism”. They are against forest management not because of any rational reason, but because it offends them to no end that someone might make money doing it. They’d rather see the whole thing go up in smoke than tolerate a lumber company making money preventing the next runaway blaze.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  John the Econ
April 15, 2020 11:58 am

Next time, ask them if they’re into “locally sourced” iPhones.

Reply to  John the Econ
April 16, 2020 10:02 am

Then I’ll ask if they are into “locally sourced food”. They are usually most enthusiastic about that.

But, but, but, mining is digging into Mother Gaia! That’s just like stabbing somebody!

April 15, 2020 8:42 am

I always ask some of my green ‘friends’ if they think that moving to an electrical operated world, then they must be really big supporters of mining, since it will require a lot of new mining ventures to fill that current void, including probably nuclear power of some sort for the electricity supply, since we we know renewables can’t even keep up with new normal growth. Usually I just get a blank stare back, having realized that they also don’t support mining, or generally anything else like logging, where they get their toilet paper from.

I think mining can be done responsibly, if it planned that way from the beginning. It might cost a little bit more to do it better, such as dry stacked tailings but once these metals are produced, the most of them will be recyclable with a bit of energy input for ever. But I always love the look on their face when they realize after having opined about moving toward a much more electrical future, how much they must support the mining sector. Some must just believe that these metals will just magically appear out of thin air.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 15, 2020 3:18 pm

Where is Lithium recycled? I have NEVER seen an article saying it can be. In fact EVERY article says that, that is the problem with Lithium. NO landfills will take it, and NO ONE has found a way to recycle it. It can’t be stacked up piles, as it has the nasty habit of catching fire, and nothing will actually stop the fires. That is why the shipping industry is so careful about packaging and shipping it.
Also if we went to total electrical cars, the current electrical grid would have to be expanded to 2-3 times the current size, and generation accordingly.
GE’s new wonderful monster wind turbine, actually takes more fossil fuel energy to mine, smelt, transport the metal, fabricate the machine and its blades, transport everything to the site, dig the 80 ft hole and fill it with concrete and re bar, erect the turbine, hook it up to the grid, THEN IT WILL EVERY produce in it’s 25 year projected lifetime! Yes, you saw that right. It is a net energy loser forever.
Deal with it.

Reply to  Jantzi
April 15, 2020 6:34 pm

In reply to your question about Lithium being recycled, here is a link to some tech making it perhaps economic in the future to recycle Lithium. This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three pioneers in the development of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and the recycling of them. You are right so far, that it isn’t yet economical. I don’t think it will be impossible forever, and Lithium probably won’t be the material of choice forever as well, especially if can’t ever be recycled profitably. So far, the majority of of Li-On batteries are still operational since the majority have been produced in the last 7-10 years are still operational, but there sure is going to be a lot of them all at once ready to go to the land fill if they can’t be recycled since there is going to be a flood of them soon. And if they can’t be recycled profitably, then that should seal that coffin about the validity of lithium ion batteries. It might be a tough nut to crack, but I am sure that it can technically be done at some point and at a profit. We shall see…

Reply to  Jantzi
April 17, 2020 9:30 am

And what happens to the lithium DEAD batteries?

April 15, 2020 9:25 am

Yes, metals all just appear as if by magic.

This is the modern political alchemy.

Reply to  Centre-leftist
April 16, 2020 5:07 am

Just like meat at the grocery store.

It all just appears out of thin air, clean and neatly packaged, like magic.

April 15, 2020 9:41 am

Mining coal = bad.
Mining rare earths = good.

Destroying pristine wilderness = bad.
Hydroelectric = good.

Lee L
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
April 15, 2020 10:06 am

Sorry Rob but you got the ‘Hydroelectric=good’ part wrong.
The Green Doctrine has now determined that hydroelectric dams produce METHANE and therefore are not on the worshipped list any more.

I know this because of the lunatic resistance in BC to expanding hydroelectric generation on an already dammed river. ( check out Site C BC).

So the Green Planners have got only geothermal left as dispatchable power. Now that’s what ya call Minin’!

Reply to  Lee L
April 15, 2020 12:16 pm

Lee, is Site C really worth it? As in cost/dollars, for the actual amount of useful energy delivered? I am usually a huge supporter of dams and hydro electric, but Site C is probably the worst example you could have picked, except for the current dams also under construction in Manitoba and Labrador. (Keeyask in Manitoba and the Lower Churchill in Newfoundland/Labrador) All are financial White Elephants and there is no denying that fact.

One of the principal reasons why these are such poor choices now is their relatively low head which becomes super expensive as head decreases. If it had been 600 feet of head like the WAC Bennett dam, then maybe it would be worth it, but all that work for a measly 155 feet of head in the case of Site C. (much less in Manitoba and Labrador) And then all the flooding of Class 1 agriculture lands in the case of Site C. Site C was a poor choice, flooding Class 1 farmland that had never bothered to develop much for full farming potential because it always had an axe hanging over its head as a BC Hydro Flood Reserve.

Why are we building a 1204 MW dam (with an annual average output of 650 MW) for what is going to be in excess of $12 Billion for basically a peaking plant 600 miles north of Vancouver that only has a 54% capacity factor? Because the government of the day in BC under Premier Gordon Campbell in 2010 enacted the Clean Energy Act, (Bill 17) which basically outlawed any new Nat Gas generation, while we have some of the largest gas reserves in NA. The same annual capacity plant could have been built near the lower mainland for about $1.4 Billion and utilized our own nat gas for a century. And saved about 12% line losses getting that electricity on already multiple overloaded 500 KV lines delivered to markets and further south into Washington State or Alberta from the Peace River almost 600 miles north of Vancouver. Of course, much of this electricity is really going to be used now to liquify the NG at Prince Rupert for LNG, which is a similar distance. Why not just burn the gas to compress the gas into LNG, instead of using electricity which has a much higher and better use for other things.

While I would usually support a large mega dam if it supplied flood control and irrigation water, such as the Colorado or some rivers in California, it did neither in this case and in fact flooded prime Class 1 Ag land. I think the proof is the amount of money that Site C costs, when a CCCT natural gas fired generator closer to Vancouver would have made a lot more sense. Such is the foolishness of the Clean Energy Act. Even high head run of river small hydro on the coast would have supplied the same energy equivalent and paid for by the private sector, even in the winter months as that is rainy season on the west coast. Site C is a White Elephant, economically and was pushed through without proper oversight from the very institutions that were created to supply this oversight, although it too was neutered by law. Site C was a mistake and will take 75 years to pay back for what may now be even be a larger bill than the current estimated $12 Billion. I too was once a huge supporter of Site C, until finding out how corrupt BC Hydro actually is, and the political tools used to get this built.

However, from an engineering perspective, it is miraculous as to what can be constructed if required and would encourage folks to check out the photo essay from BC Hydro on the construction, which is about half done. To be completed by 2024/2025 if they get the river diversion completed on time by this Sept. A lot of work…which is good for the work force, but is it really worth it has to be the final question we ask ourselves, especially when we have alternatives like our abundant clean natural gas that most jurisdictions would love to have.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 15, 2020 5:51 pm

Hmm…Earthling…..some smart people disagree with you…
In fact if only 25% of BC’s vehicles go “electric”, you’re going to need a couple more site C’s to charge them.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 15, 2020 7:00 pm

Probably more like 3-4, maybe 5 Site C equivalents if we electrify much more of the economy with 50% EV only and electric heating and banning nat gas. But my argument was about the financial viability of spending in excess of $12 Billion for 650 MW annual capacity. That is pure batshit crazy in economic terms, and on top of all that, the final First Nations lawsuit hasn’t even been heard yet and that could add another billion or two to the final price tag. That would pay for the equivalent CCCT nat gas plant if we have to the pay the Indigenous peoples of Treaty 8 $1.5 Billion for violations, depending how the courts rule and we all know how they ruled on many of these cases already, especially the BC Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal. What do you have against CCCT Natural Gas fired generation close to where the electricity is needed? Doesn’t that make a lot more sense to sensible people?

BC has a lot of useful natural gas and we should be using it here and keeping our electricity rates affordable. Do you have any idea what this additional debt to the balance sheet of BC Hydro is going to do to our electricity rates? Not many people do, but it will add 50% to the price of electricity within a half dozen years after it is finished. Site C is financially non viable and anyone with any elementary arithmetic skills can arrive at that same conclusion. It is the anti fossil fuel people leading this agreement that it is required over natural gas. It is so sad to see us awash in natural gas, and we won’t even use it ourselves. That is a pathetic sate of affairs, this so called Clean Energy Act in BC. Some don’t even want us cooking with it, that is how bizarre all this has become.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Earthling2
April 15, 2020 9:01 pm

If it’s only 54% available that makes it 75% better than wind and Almost 3x better than solar.
All you are doing is pointing out the limits of green energy

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 16, 2020 10:08 am

So why not just use our own natural gas in a combined-cycle power plant uses both a gas and a steam turbine together to produce up to 50 percent more electricity from the same fuel than traditional steam fired plants. Why spend $12 Billion on damming a river for a pathetic 650 MW of electricity while flooding valuable Class 1 agricultural lands? Answer that question, instead of deflections.

Bryan A
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
April 15, 2020 12:10 pm

More like…
Destroying pristine wilderness for logging or Hydroelectric dam projects = bad
Destroying pristine wilderness for Solar Farms of Wind Turbine Farms = good

Reply to  Bryan A
April 15, 2020 12:54 pm

NASA’s “Earth Pic of the Day” recently featured a new solar plant in Spain as seen from space — becuz it encompassed about 4 square miles, according to the caption. This for a 500 MW plant.

For grins, I looked up how much footprint a 500 MW natural gas plant has, and found that a typical 800 MW gas plant takes up an average of 30 acres (0.05 square miles), but I also found mention of a specific plant in New York that used used only 7 acres.

Vs over 2700 acres for the 4 sq mile solar plant. But the solar plant is “green” doncha know?

Found the link —

Bryan A
Reply to  pkudude99
April 15, 2020 2:14 pm

And a 2200MW Nuclear Plant (Diablo Canyon) covers a scant 12 acres

Reply to  Bryan A
April 17, 2020 9:44 am

Bryan, great comment and a keeper. Don’t forget the destruction of US, Canadian (including First Nation’s forests) for biomass. That seems to be OK even though many, including Anthony Watts, has demonstrated biomass is far dirtier than coal.

The Obvious Biomass Emissions Error
Anthony Watts

April 15, 2020 10:21 am

Every POLITICIAN that is worth anything at all, learns that to have BIG OVERSIZED and total-vision-is-goal planks upon which to legitimize their polity, is the № 1 way to keep getting reëlected, especially by a young, imtemperate, illiberal voter base. Idealism must have ideals!

The Green New Deal is just one example of an easily peddled vision of unmatched hyperbole. These visions come and go, and as is the case, the mix of conservatıve and progressive forces in turn compromise the vision-of-perfection into ssomething more workable within the vexingly chaotic confines of the REAL WORLD, with all its regional bumps, warts, shortcomings, abundances, religious and philosophically minded peoples inhabiting the dirt therein.

The GND in its absolute-is-optimal position, figures that somehow the whole world can work from anything-but-fossil-fuel, and while ‘they’re at it’, anything that carries even a modest stigma of not being Good for the Earth. So, no nuclear. I’m kind of surprised that geothermal isn’t on the verboten list, actually.

But the foregoing isn’t the whole point, is it? The point is that there will be compromise from the GND to the round-earth situation, from now until the foreseeable future ebbs.

The greenies might want us to deprecate our fossil-fueled cars, trucks, planes, trains and ships. Its fomenters might want to wish-away the demand for energy that this modern world’s form of reasonable living standards affords. Tho’ they have an unusually high number of people who revel in building their 25 m² cabins, solar powered, off-grid, wood-fired and all organic, non-GMO, self-raised foodstuffs, it is equally surprising how many of the off-gridders have cell phones, laptops, internet connections. It is even more surprising how many comport themselves without horses, camels, donkeys or sled-dogs … using motorized vehicular transport.

Thing is, that the GND is a RELIGIOUS PAPER at its root. It calls upon all progressives, mostly the young, the easily impressioned, the idealists, the naïve … to demand rights that they have not EARNED. It denies the greater civilization, the one that needs to mine ores, smelt them (an immensely dirty process), to work them into tools, tools into machines, machines into manufacturing devices, and they producing the gazillions of parts, parts, interlocking parts which actually makes ALL the invisible devices of civilization work.

There are positively excellent past-copyright-expiry YouTube videos made from 1950s and 1960s films, which explain in rather jaw-dropping detail the likes of iron smelting, of forging, machining, of building our civilization’s most notable edifices. Skyscrapers, cranes, humungous viaducts, machines to dig ’em. Mining mahcines, enormous presses, hydraulics systems, electrical control systems and devices.


Sobering to realize that ALL THIS STUFF requires a whole world-wide infraxtructure of raw-materials refining, processing, designing, joining and packaging. Just to have scapels, pliers, spray bottles, pens, pressure cookers, olive oil, glass windows, fresh eggs, linoleum, ceramics, utensils, carpets, refrigerators, bags, boxes, books, ups, facemasks, and all the rest. IT IS AMAZING how much stuff we make, which requires machines, and ‘parts’ made by mahines, etc. Amazing.

WE CAN EASILY accomodate the same level of GND dynamics and forces in our civilization, as we are accomodating the non-GMO-ists, the organic food snobs, the ten dollar über-burger devotées, the Amish with their mules, the Never Trumpers with their slogans and signage, the AntiFa dopes who have been duped into believing they have rights … that they just don’t merit.

LET EM BUILD WINDMILLS, solar farms, geothermal fields. Let ’em repurpose spent salt mines, to pump full of high pressure air, to store energy. Let ’em reestablish CAFE standards for fuel’d cars, to drive fleet mileage back up to 40+ miles a gallon; let ’em close the loopholes that relieved the makers of SUVs from having to meet CAFE standards. Its ok, fellow WUWT goers. What they’re doing is no different than the environmentalists in the 1960s, 1970s who worked long and hard to curb forest-soil destroying logging practices, that worked to build watersheds, that worked to competently repurpose strip mines once ‘done’. These are NOT BAD THINGS, you know.

And let us be smug in our resolution to listen to the totalitarian hyper-positions, and nod our heads sagely. Because we’ve seen a lot of bbb-bb-b-bûllsnot … marked at gold … to know that all things gold hued … are not gold.

⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

Reply to  GoatGuy
April 15, 2020 10:45 am

> …drive fleet mileage back up to 40+ miles a gallon… these are NOT BAD THINGS, you know.

Wrong. People die to achieve CAFE standards.

The Expulsive
April 15, 2020 10:47 am

I find it humorous the number of people who speak about mining without having a clue what is involved in mining or the horrendous practices followed in most countries where it is carried out. Mining is difficult, and can be extremely dangerous and polluting when carried out in places where controls and oversight are either non-existent or subject to corruption (paying off the local warlord or party lead).
While Mr. Long states “mining does not need to pollute and contaminate”, this can be true in the G7 countries, but sadly that is not what happens in most of the world. Take rare earth materials, which are mostly mined in 3rd world countries and processed by ChiCom controlled companies. If you mine cobalt in Ontario, its responsible government, subject to oversight by environmental advocates, lawyers and its regulators, will mine the stuff in a manner that greatly limits negative aspects of the process (nothing is absolute, so there will be some trade-offs). But these Ontario mines can’t get the funds to operate because they must compete with the rest of the world where lax oversight and controls are the rule.
This is also true of oil and gas. What is more polluting? Oil from Alberta’s oil sands, with advanced techniques for controlling the pollutants and reclaiming the land after use, or what goes on in some South American or African countries? If you guessed Alberta you would be right, even down to control of the pollutant dejure, carbon dioxide. But Alberta can be attached because Canada is a free country…try challenging other states where there is no rule of law.
I have seen close hand what mines can be and what they are (I worked in mine wrecking for many years, as well as with a manufacturer of sluice gates), and the practices of some companies are responsible, while others are not, and the responsibility can slip in the 3rd world for the same company. The best are usually in G7 countries, though there can be some stinkers when they off-shore the mining. I compare what I have seen between Northern Ontario/Quebec, with what I have also seen in West Africa, and know that the need to have inexpensive materials favors facilities that should not operate, as their oversight stinks or is just downright corrupt
I used to be leery of nuclear power, even though I worked with many engineers that built the Candu fleet (my principal was one), my biggest concern not over these going critical, but with the lack of storage for the spent rods and their transport for treatment. But I am over that leeriness now, having seen the alternatives of industrial wind and solar facilities, with their unnecessary consumption of land and destruction of animal habitat.
We need to reduce pollution (and I don’t mean CO2) when we produce electricity, and gas turbines, though fascinating from an engineering perspective, can only be a useful solution in the near term. Wind turbines and solar panels are not a viable alternative for an advanced society. Better nuclear should be viable.

Ron Long
Reply to  The Expulsive
April 15, 2020 11:24 am

The Expulsive, I am generally in agreement with your comments re mining in a variety of jurisdictions. China is without doubt the worst actor out there, and shows no signs of changing their conduct. However, the civilized countries can treat metals produced under criminal conditions the same as “blood oil” or “blood diamonds” if they want to. This means that any component containing materials produced outside reasonable standards of safety and responsibility cannot be sold or imported into those civilized countries. Sure, this will not stop the bad conduct of China, but it will cut dramatically into their profit. Yes, there are rare earth metals available for exploitation in North America, just at higher production costs.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 17, 2020 9:37 am

I believe the Greens have managed to prohibit mining for rare earth metals in the US where it can be done safely and in an environmentally sane way.
They appear to ignore the destructive manner in which China, the Congo etc. mine. I presume it’s an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.
This way, their ignorance gets them a two-fer. They can feel smug and superior by buying electric vehicles and supporting windmills and solar and by ignoring the serious environmental damages to animals, humans and the environments done in other countries to get their metals and materials.
Willful ignorance, I suspect.

Dodgy Geezer
April 15, 2020 11:27 am

Simple answer. Require everything to be made of hemp and bamboo….

April 15, 2020 11:53 am

Take a look at the outrageous reality in Baotou caused by rare earth metal mining for industrial wind turbines.

How can environmentalists condone this?

Reply to  Sommer
April 15, 2020 2:10 pm

BBC Future did an article on that place 5 years ago wherein they called it The Worst Place on Earth —

Richard Sherratt
Reply to  pkudude99
April 16, 2020 12:24 am

The text of the article suggests that China sacrificed a part of their country for the sake of humanity so that other countries wouldn’t have to bear the burden.
The radioactive, toxic clay was going to be used to make symbolic sculptures to honour China’s noble sacrifice.
Typical BBC carp.

April 15, 2020 1:26 pm

How many millions of square miles of forrest or other ecosystem will need to be cleared/destroyed to install wind and solar at that scale?

M__ S__
April 15, 2020 3:37 pm

Sooner or later, given the lack of a real education that includes facts about economics, the US population will vote for socialism (the real intent of the whole climate excuse exercise)—and then suffer the consequences.

We no longer seem able to learn from the mistakes of others. so each generation is doomed to repeat failure. The best we can do is to plan to ride the tide and adapt, as we resist with rational argument.

M B Pinder
April 15, 2020 4:26 pm

Lithium? It’s more poisonous than the lead used in conventional batteries. Lithium salts are used in the treatment of bipolar affective disorders & the therapeutic window is quite small.

April 15, 2020 4:41 pm

The post reads, “…promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and several other prominent elected officials…”

AOC isn’t a prominent elected official. She simply a loud-mouthed congressperson with a large social-media following. To the rest of the world, she’s an I-don’t-care-what-she-has-to-say former bartender.

[UPDATE] AOC’s the congressional equivalent of a Kardashian.

Stay safe and healthy, all,

Geoff Sherrington
April 15, 2020 5:14 pm

My colleagues in a mineral exploration/mining company discovered a dozen new mines in Australia, some world class. In decades with them, I saw a fascinating technology change from manual mining to mining without people in the mine. Computing staff who see that the automatic machines are performing to requirement are not even needed nearby and can control the operation from a continent away.
In the early days we had an occasional death. This had such an impact that it drove automation, together with better economics.
In every case familiar to me, those who work in or close to actual mining are not rapacious cruel beasts intent on profit, but normal people, often ordinary family folk. It might be different in some other countries.
Those who react hysterically against mining do not seem to have witnessed it. In Australia, we are proud of our contributions to new wealth creation. Geoff S

Flight Level
April 15, 2020 6:46 pm

Those supporting craptacular Green New Deals and other similar evidence of raging oligophrenia pandemics are persuaded that all comes from Amazon’s app search function.

Rudolf Huber
April 15, 2020 6:52 pm

Dig up the country – thats green. In Germany, entire forests are razed to make space for wind farms. Thats green. China covers hellscapes with glistening panels. Thats green. The Green religion is the biggest destroyer of nature we have ever seen. Yes, it’s worse than the industrial revolution. European counties have added forested surface for more than 100 years. Now it’s cutting down again. Courtesy of our Green wizards.

Reply to  Rudolf Huber
April 17, 2020 9:57 am

So true.
German City Of Aachen Cuts Down Over 600 Acres Of Natural Forests To Install Seven 200-Meter Tall Wind Turbines!
October 2019
Logging Threatens One of Europe’s Last Virgin Forests
…Meanwhile, activist Alexander von Bismarck says he simply cannot get it into his head that one of the last European virgin forests is being illegally cut down so it can be sold to heat homes in Austria.

Cops swarm ancient forest as activists fight coal mine plan

German court stops controversial clearing of forest for clearing forest lignite mine.

They don’t object to cutting down US and Canadian forests, either.
Europe is burning our forests for “renewable” energy. Wait, what?

Or, the Amazon for biofuels.
Destroy Rainforests to Grow Sugar Cane

Walt D.
April 15, 2020 6:56 pm

Thought Experiment.
Suppose we ban mining.
Just look around you.
How many things came out of a mine?
How many things could be made without using tools made from materials that came out of a mine?
Where are you going to get the copper wire from for your solar panels and windmills?
Where are you going to get the insulation for the copper wires?
Reminds me of a joke.
A teacher asks a little girl. “Where does milk come from”?
The little girl replies “Safeway”

April 15, 2020 7:08 pm

The ONLY good thing to ever come out of California’s legal system is the car crusher.

April 16, 2020 10:04 am

In your gut you know they’re nuts when they fold in wealth redistribution and overlook the low cost leaders even within renewables. Obama was a textbook case of rewarding the losers and only vaguely acknowledging the winners by using averages to cover up the deceit and corruption in subsidy programs like the case of Solyndra.

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