Seabed-mining foes press U.N. to weigh climate impacts

Date: July 15, 2019

Source: E&E News Climatewire

Mining interests are racing to extract minerals from the ocean bottom that would be used in batteries for electric vehicles. Deep seabed mining could begin by 2025 or earlier, depending on the pace of international negotiations that resume this week in Kingston, Jamaica. Environmentalists, who want to slow down the race to the seafloor, will be present in force at the 25th round of the U.N. International Seabed Authority (ISA), pressing for firm protections for the international seabed. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Greenpeace — which initially emphasized risks to biodiversity and the potential for permanent damage wrought to sensitive ecosystems — are now more closely scrutinizing the climate implications of allowing private companies to dig cobalt and other sought-after minerals used to make lithium-ion batteries. ‘By impacting on natural processes that store carbon, deep sea mining could even make climate change worse by releasing carbon stored in deep sea sediments or disrupting the processes which help scavenge carbon and deliver it to those sediments,’ Greenpeace argued in a report issued ahead of the talks.

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