Leftists Green Energy Dreams Just Got Hit With a Brutal Reality Check, 10 Year Transition to Electric Future Not Possible

As more people push for a quick switch to green energy, some argue that we already have the technology to stop using fossil fuels and just need to increase its use.

But a new study from the University of Michigan suggests that this change might not be as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to having enough of the metal copper.

The study looked at data from copper mining companies around the world over the past 120 years.

It compared this to how much copper the U.S. would need to switch its electricity and transportation to renewable energy sources.

The results were eye-opening: from 2018 to 2050, the world will need 115% more copper than has ever been mined in human history up to 2018, just to keep up with current demand.

If we add in the extra copper needed for the green energy switch, the researchers say we’d need to open as many as six new large copper mines every year for the next several decades.

“I’m fully on board with the energy transition. However, it needs to be done in a way that’s achievable,” said Adam Simon, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies earth and the environment.

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David Hammond, a mineral economist who has worked as a mining consultant for many years, doesn’t think it’s possible to open a new large copper mine every year.

Right now, there are only 20 copper mines in the world, and together they make 8 million to 9 million tons per year. Experts think that by 2050, the world will need about 50 million metric tons of copper each year.

Hammond explained that mineral economists are now afraid to predict future mineral needs because there are so many political and industry factors that can quickly change demand, like the recent slowdown in electric car sales.

Even if the switch to green energy happens as planned, the U.S. faces big challenges in producing more copper at home.

It can take decades to get permits for new mines, and the process of exploring for copper can take 20 to 50 years before a mine is even ready for permits. “The 1950s and 1960s were the best times for finding big copper deposits,” Hammond noted.

Making existing mines bigger also has problems, because as the mines get larger, the quality of the copper gets lower.

This means it costs more to produce each pound of copper, which could make things like electric cars and power lines more expensive and harder for people to afford.

Copper is just one of many minerals needed for the green energy switch, and getting these minerals has similar challenges.

The University of Michigan researchers hope their study will make lawmakers rethink their green energy goals and set targets that are more realistic.

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While reducing our use of fossil fuels may be a good goal, we have to do it in a way that makes sense and can last for a long time.