Can Metals Help to Mitigate Climate Change Effects?

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By:  Thomas Steffanci, PhD, Senior Portfolio Manager

I came across an interesting article in referencing a study by Citicorp that found that metals such as aluminum, nickel, steel, and copper (including the fossil fuels necessary for their production processes) can have a net beneficial effect on climate mitigation.

This surprising finding was that the use of these metals can drive down global-warming gases given their use to build the wind turbines, electric vehicles, solar equipment, and carbon capture technologies needed for the electrification of global economies.

In their rapid electrification scenario, the report found that for every 87 billion tons of metal to be used over the next 30 years (2020-2050), greenhouse gases would be reduced by an average of 9 billion tons. So, all the pollution fighting efforts to reduce metal mining may have a net negative effect on climate change mitigation. Moreover, the corollary would be that continued efforts to reduce the production of these metals may have a net negative marginal effect by slowing economic growth and power availability.

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