Read this letter in the Toronto Star.
By Susan Sheard
The climate emergency should have taught us that we have to do the math first before we hop on our bulldozers. But, once again, the province of Ontario is allowing its emotional brain to dominate its rational brain.
A switch to electric vehicles is essential, but what if the extraction of electric-vehicle minerals actually increases our yearly greenhouse gas emissions?
That is exactly what will happen if the province insists on sourcing electric-vehicle minerals from the Ring of Fire. Climate scientist Lorna Harris explains that the peatlands in the proposed mining area store about 450 million tonnes of carbon. As the peatlands are disturbed during mining, vast amounts of that carbon will be released back into the atmosphere. Even a slow release over the next 10 years, she says, would still increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent every year.
Harris suggests research into more sustainable mineral sources, for example from existing mines and mine tailings.
It makes no sense to just start digging without first ensuring that the carbon released through extraction doesn’t actually exceed the carbon saved by the switch to electric vehicles.
The order has to be: Math first, dig later. Not the other way around.
Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada