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Critical minerals needed for the energy transition and essential crops are at high risk due to the climate crisis, according to new PwC report

Marina Vanni,  May 2, 2024

More than 70% of critical minerals needed for promoting decarbonization are under threat from climate disruption. This revelation comes from the latest report by consultancy firm PwC, titled "Climate Risks to Nine Key Commodities: Protecting People and Prosperity" released on April 30, 2024.

Affected by this instability are minerals like copper, cobalt, and lithium, essential for electronics and technology for green energy. PwC’s analysis warns that by 2050, under a high emissions scenario, over 70% of production for these minerals could face severe drought risks, a staggering leap from less than 10% today.

"Although reducing emissions will decrease heat and drought risks, key commodities will still face significant stress, even under a low emissions scenario modelled by PwC", warns the organization.

Vital metals, bauxite and iron in particular, are also in danger due to heat stress, even if worldwide carbon emissions are significantly reduced.

The report highlights a looming crisis for food crops as well. By 2050, under high emissions conditions, a staggering 90% of the world’s rice production could be plagued by significant heat stress, a sharp rise from the current 75%. Additionally, more than 30% and 50% of maize and wheat, respectively, could be in the crosshairs of drought by mid-century.

"Production of all nine critical commodities is also concentrated in a limited number of countries – many of which face increasing climate risks. For each resource, at least 40% - and as much as 85% - of its global supply is produced from a distinct set of no more than three countries", says PwC.

According to the consultancy firm, 47% of CEOs are already ramping up efforts to shield their operations and personnel from climate risks, indicating a growing awareness of the ongoing crisis.

Read the full report here

Author: Marina Vanni


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