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Unexpectedly, the deepest and darkest oceans are home to an abundance of life. But not humans, which is why would-be miners argue they’re the perfect place to hoover up metals needed for the clean energy transition.
Hundreds of campaigners and scientists are calling for a moratorium to deep seabed drilling until the impacts on ecosystems, and the carbon cycle, are better understood. They are backed by several big carmakers and tech companies – Volkswagen, Samsung, Google – with responsibility for sourcing these types of minerals for their products.
The International Seabed Authority didn’t know this. They are currently working on a regulatory timeline which could see the ocean floor open for exploitation as early July 2023. At its Jamaica HQ, a moratorium was not on the horizon.
Why the rush? A fast-track process was initiated for Nauru, a Pacific island state with 11,000 inhabitants. Vancouver-based The Metals Company has a deal with Tonga, Kiribati, and it is now the fronting.
Some people have been caught off guard by the remoteness and haste of the issue. The EU, for example, has no common position. Voices of caution are raised against the commercial interests of member countries with exploration rights.
Germany voted for a moratorium in September at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Congress. But the ISA representative assured them that they were ready for regulation. The one that the new coalition government should decide on immediately.
This week’s stories
Source: Climate Change News