- China’s role in supplying critical minerals for the global energy transition: What could the future hold?
The world faces major challenges in responsibly sourcing large quantities of minerals that are critical for the transition to low-carbon energy sources. Consumption of these critical minerals―most notably nickel, copper, lithium, and cobalt―is projected to rise, largely driven by their use in the renewable energy sector. Demand is expected to quadruple by 2040 under the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario, in which global action would limit the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and it is projected to rise by six times under a net-zero scenario. Many governments, including the United States, European Union members, and China, seem to share the goal of increasing the supply and rate of production of the raw materials needed for the energy transition to address the challenge of global climate change. However, meeting this demand will be difficult―and producing these minerals in strict adherence to robust environmental, social, and governance criteria will be even more so.