The wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles that Europe needs to become climate-neutral require lots of metals. We take it for granted that these metals will be available. But they have to be dug up from the ground. Some of them are scarce. The countries of the European Union have largely outsourced metal mining to the Global South. This creates supply risks, but also a responsibility for the social and environmental abuses associated with mining in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (cobalt), South Africa (manganese), Chile (lithium) and China (rare earths).
Do local and indigenous communities in mining regions in the Global South pay the price for our green ambitions? Are women disproportionately affected? Where is the climate justice in that? Do the supply chain due diligence and the recycling initiatives that the EU is promoting represent a break with neo-colonial extractivism? What if developing countries decide to make their own cleantech instead of selling their raw materials to us?
We will tackle these questions during a webinar organised by the Green European Foundation and Wetenschappelijk Bureau GroenLinks on 11 June, from 14:00 to 16:00 CEST. This transnational webinar will be moderated by Kauthar Bouchallikht MP. English will be the working language.
The insights gathered at the webinar will be used for the upcoming publication Metals for a green and digital Europe. You can already contribute to this publication by commenting on the online draft: metalsforeurope.eu