Roughly 80 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, the new generation of offshore wind turbines being built at Dogger Bank will be taller than some skyscrapers.
Along with masses of solar panels and electric cars, these feats of human engineering will become the backbone of a new, green economy that will emerge as we abandon fossil fuels.
Yet as we embrace net zero carbon emissions in the name of saving the planet, growing tensions are emerging over what must be done to achieve this goal.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank, the switch to “cleaner” renewable energy sources is going to require an unprecedented surge in the extraction of precious minerals from the earth. Whether it is lithium and cobalt needed for batteries, or rare earth elements used for magnets that power wind turbines and electric car motors, we simply can’t make the green technologies we need without them. Yet campaigners and researchers warn that the mines producing these minerals raise troubling environmental questions of their own, with the worst examples ravaging landscapes, polluting water supplies and desolating crops. The industry also poses geopolitical challenges for Britain and its allies, with China currently dominating the supply chains.

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