EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Regarding ‘Special Report: Raw Materials‘:

Your focus last week on raw materials is most welcome, as this issue is finally getting the attention it has needed for several years already.

Unfortunately most of the actors, starting with the political ones, are showing a worrying lack of ambition. This is almost certainly linked to either a limited understanding of this complex area or the hidden agenda of protecting first the interests of certain actors versus the general one.

While we should be talking about the dematerialisation of our economy, of the closed-loop economy, cradle-to-cradle approaches and short supply systems, etc., instead we’re only hearing about recycling (which is obviously necessary but is insufficient by far) or even worse, re-opening mines in Europe.

These are old-fashioned solutions for a problem which will require innovation and systemic changes to avoid ending in global conflict.

More at

Jean D

Author :


  1. JeanD

    Well said. The acquisition and protection of natural resources will become a very big issue in this century and most probably over the next quarter of a century starts to really ‘kick in’. China controls 60% of ‘rare’ elements and conflict behind the scenes with the USA has already begun. We need them for high-technology products throughout the world and the military needs them (especially the USA).

    But this constant depletion of natural resources could well bring about a future nightmarish scenario. In this respect the USA’s most influential security institute (and thereby the worlds’) the National Intelligence Council (NIC), predicted in late 2009 that their is a probability that nuclear weapons would be used to defend borders and protect natural resources. Indeed, although the Middle-East has always been a powder-keg for conflict, the unprecedented and unparalleled depletion of the world’s energy resources will make this area, the centre for unimaginable conflict if we do not watch out. For the modern-world’s existence in human terms is so dependent on oil and gas supplies and where leading energy economists have said that it only takes as little as 12%-15% reduction at the most in oil supplies, to bring the world economy to an eventual standstill – the knock-on effect. Consequently conflict appears to be an inevitable fact if politicians do not get their heads around this global problem of possible human survival in the final analysis. Indeed, reduced oil and gas supplies over the next quarter of a century will be a far more devastating threat than the global financial crisis, as it cannot be fixed in time.

    It was the first time that the NIC had ever mentioned that nuclear weapons could well be used. Therefore it was a very important statement and our world’s leaders should take note, the EU included of course. There would be no winners in this scenario but where history has shown, it only takes one country to take the lead here and think that it can come off with limited damage. For as we know through history as well, some politicians never think it through and where the button had already been pushed.

    Dr. David Hill
    Executive Director
    World Innovation Foundation Charity
    Bern, Switzerland

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