Over 70% of net zero critical minerals threatened by climate disruption

An analysis of materials including copper, cobalt and lithium has identified huge supply chain vulnerabilities which will severely worsen in the next three decades. 

green trees on mountain under white clouds during daytime

In 2024, just 10% of critical minerals we need to transition to a net zero economy are considered to be directly threatened by climate events. Under the current, high emissions scenario, by 2050 this will increase to 70% of what we require in order to start reducing those emissions from industries such as energy and transport. 

PwC’s 2024 Climate Risks to Nine Key Commodities Report also found that 90% of the planet’s rice supply will face ‘considerable heat stress’ by the halfway point of this century. This is a rise from 75% today. Meanwhile, 30% of maize and 50% wheat would be threatened, raising serious questions about food security in the near future. 

Just as troubling, modelling showed that even with a rapid fall in emissions, giving us a low emissions scenario by 2050, 87% of rice production, 70% of cobalt, and 60% of bauxite and iron will still be extremely vulnerable to severe climate events because of baked-in changes already underway.

In February, for example, the planet recorded its first ever annual temperature rise of more than 1.5C, meaning the limits set in the Paris Agreement have already been surpassed. As a result of this, PwC also found that almost half of CEOs say they are now preparing and protecting workforces and assets from climate risks.

‘Even if global carbon emissions rapidly decrease, climate disruption poses a serious and growing threat to the world’s ability to produce essential commodities – including food as well as materials that are themselves essential to the net zero transition,’ said Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader at PwC.

‘While CEOs are taking action to both cut emissions and adapt to climate change, more needs to be done,’ she continued. ‘Businesses need to understand their dependencies and impacts, then work with governments and communities to transform their consumption and production patterns. This is crucial not only for the ongoing success of individual businesses, but also for the overall health and prosperity of the global population.’

You can access the full report here.

More on climate change and net zero: 

Unilever’s AGM to become climate battleground this week

WATCH: Behind the scenes of new Warner Bros coral bleaching documentary

Blue Earth Summit comes to London in 2024 – EnvironmentJournal

Image:Landon Parenteau


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