3 ways the circular economy is vital for the energy transition

Excerpt from greenbiz.com

The circular economy is a system that aims to get the most out of materials, keep products and materials in use and design them to be cycled back into the economy, eliminating waste. It is also a vital pillar of the energy transition.

Over 70 percent of the world’s GDP is covered by a net-zero target, with many advanced economies aiming to decarbonize by 2050 and China committing to 2060.

Transforming our current economic system is both a daunting challenge and a massive opportunity — one like the world has never known.

Getting to net-zero by 2050 will mean accomplishing what seems unimaginable, like entirely phasing out the internal combustion engine or adding the equivalent of the world’s largest solar farm every single day.

To support and scale these efforts, speed will be of the essence — especially given last year’s climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirming that urgent action is needed to stop global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C. To build out the energy infrastructure the world needs at speed and scale, circular economy will play a vital role in three main ways.

1. Recycling can conserve critical materials

The energy transition depends on a shift to renewable power, pivoting away from natural gas and petroleum and towards solar, wind, hydrogen, geothermal power or other zero-emissions tech supported by batteries.

But transitioning to these technologies is triggering massive demand for the critical minerals required, such as lithium, cobalt and rare earths.