Why a transition to clean energy alone is not enough for a sustainable future

China is the dominant supplier of rare earth because it does not give a damn about its environment. They are happy to destroy whole regions if its only for some bucks. If we had to pay normal prices – i.e. the price for mining without destroying everything around – those substances would be significantly more expensive. This means that wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels have become cheaper because massive swathes of the planet are turned into wastelands.

Avoiding the two degree temperature rise threshold is probably the biggest challenge mankind has ever faced. A transition from fossil fuels to clean energy could be a major step in reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, but focusing on carbon emissions is only half the battle. The gains from such a transition can be seen as a temporary fix or even worse, a distraction from the real roots of the problem.

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