New Report - Metals in a Low-Carbon Economy

Posted on 4 April 2012

A new report published by SEI entitled "Metals in a Low-Carbon Economy: Resource Scarcity, Climate Change and Business in a Finite World" examines the use of five metals in lowcarbon technologies: cobalt, lithium, neodymium, indium and tellurium.

In the last two decades there has been rapid growth in the development and installation of low-carbon technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, as well as to secure energy supplies. However, interest in these technologies has been matched by concern that potential bottlenecks in the supply chains for various metals that are critical for low-carbon technologies could hinder the deployment of these technologies on a substantial scale.

A range of metals are essential for manufacturing and operating low-carbon technologies, and the majority of companies and governments supporting their development depend on imports for many of them. As demand grows and competition over resources intensifies, concerns have arisen that limited metal availability might slow deployment of the technologies.

The authors' analysis uses scenarios to explore the impacts of the significant uncertainty in potential supply, and a rapid growth in demand, for these materials. The outcomes of the scenario analysis were shared with businesses, and their responses and insights on these issues are also presented in this report.

This report, written as part of the partnership programme between the business leaders’ initiative 3C (Combat Climate Change) and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Download the project report (PDF: 3.11MB)