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County Supervisors Split on Plains All

Jun 29, 2023

While I do not agree that oil and coal are cleaner than wind and solar, the equipment, parts etc of solar, wind that are made in China, are made with electricity generated by coal. That is a good example of situational irony via expectations contrasted vs. what’s really happening.

On rare earth minerals, I will quote from the Harvard International review. First this: "Overall, for every ton of rare earth, 2,000 tons of toxic waste are produced." Then second quote to provide for larger context"For every ton of rare earth produced, the mining process yields 13kg of dust, 9,600-12,000 cubic meters of waste gas, 75 cubic meters of wastewater, and one ton of radioactive residue. This stems from the fact that rare earth element ores have metals that, when mixed with leaching pond chemicals, contaminate air, water, and soil. Most worrying is that rare earth ores are often laced with radioactive thorium and uranium, which result in especially detrimental health effects. Overall, for every ton of rare earth, 2,000 tons of toxic waste are produced."

From (scientific papers archive site) a snippet of a Finnish study found something we all already know intuitively, but here it is "mining and processing are one of the global top GHG emitting industries." and then notes "The detailed calculation shows that an increase by 1% of green energy production represents roughly a 0.90% increase of GHG emissions in exploitation phase including mining, processing, and production stages."

Both papers note the situational irony and conclude that pushing through this phase is essential to fighting climate change. The Finnish study is an emotion free look at it.