Blog Entry

Conference: "Turning Down the Heat: Can We Mine Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?"

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

Ottawa, Canada, November 14-15, 2019

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Why are we doing this?

The Problem

It is imperative to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming from getting worse than what is already “locked in.” But many current projections for a ‘decarbonised’ energy economy require massive amounts of metals to generate, store, and transmit electricity.

Improved efficiency, recycling, and new technologies will help meet and reduce that demand, but the current trajectory is towards expansion of mining for increasingly scarce metals and minerals, pushing mining into ever more remote and fragile places – even including the ocean floor – and into greater conflict with communities and further destruction of fresh water and biodiversity.

The challenge, therefore, is how to respond to the climate crisis without destroying more of the planet we are trying to save – to reduce the need for more mining, limit and manage its impacts, and to the extent possible, repair the damage it has already done to communities and ecosystems.

The Conference: How Can We Save the Climate Without Wrecking the Planet?

Over the course of two days, we will explore: the implications of this new extractive rush for communities that are already struggling with the impacts of mining; the need for better regulation of mining activity; the potential for reducing the demand for new mined metals and minerals through improved efficiency and recycling; and policies that can account for the full costs of raw metals, as well as larger-scale transformations in transportation, production, trade, and consumption. We will convene convening representatives from communities –Indigenous and non-Indigenous– affected by mining on the front lines of “energy metals” extraction from Canada and around the world, researchers and experts on materials efficiency, technology, and energy transition, as well as activists and leaders in the struggle to address the climate crisis. We will map out emerging trends, challenges, and conflicts, and work to identify solutions and strategies to implement them.


We would like to thank our "Earth" sponsors ($1000):

And our "Water" sponsors ($4000+):