Achieving a net zero economy is not simply a matter of just expanding low carbon infrastructure and planting more trees. The technologies needed rely on resources, including a range of rare earth metals, that are sometimes scarce and can come with geopolitical risks. At the same time as governments are promising to reforest land to offset carbon and decarbonise, pressures on land use are also building, and include demands for food, fibre, timber, biomass and chemical feedstocks.
To date, global policies have often ignored the role that cutting demand for energy, materials and other products could play in securing needed supplies.
At the Glasgow climate summit, our panel discussion discussed options for a more balanced approach, taking into account geopolitics and supply chain risks, and the effect that greater resource efficiency, due diligence measures and demand reduction could have on the global effort to tackle climate change.
Senior policy adviser – resources, Green Alliance
Technical development director, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK
Research fellow, Chatham House
Project engineer, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
Professor in energy and climate policy, Leeds University