Research press release


Nature Communications

Environment: Mining for renewable energy could exacerbate threats to biodiversity

再生可能エネルギーの生産に使用される材料を目的とする鉱山が増えるにつれて、生物多様性への脅威が将来的に増加する可能性があることを示唆する論文が、Nature Communications に掲載される。


今回、Laura Sonterたちの研究チームは、全世界の鉱区のマップを作成し、これらと生物多様性保全地域との一致性を評価した。その結果、鉱業が、地球の陸地面積のうちの約5000万平方キロメートルに影響を及ぼしている可能性があり、鉱区の82%が再生可能エネルギー生産に使用される材料の採掘を目的としていることが明らかになった。鉱区と保全地域の空間的重複に関しては、鉱区の8%と国の指定した保護地域、鉱区の7%と主要生物多様性地域、鉱区の16%と残存原生地域(生物多様性の減少を阻止する上で重要な優先課題と考えられている地域)が重複していることが分かった。



Threats to biodiversity could increase in the future as more mines target materials used for renewable energy production, suggests a study in Nature Communications.

Renewable energy production is necessary to mitigate climate change. However, only 17% of current global energy consumption is achieved through renewable energies. Generating the required technologies and infrastructure will lead to an increase in the production of many metals, which may create potential threats for biodiversity.

Laura Sonter and colleagues mapped mining areas globally and assessed their coincidence with biodiversity conservation sites. The authors found that mining potentially influences approximately 50 million km2 of the Earth’s land surface with 82% of mining areas targeting materials used in renewable energy production. When looking at the spatial overlap between mining areas and conservation sites, they found that 8% of mining areas coincided with nationally-designated Protected Areas, 7% with Key Biodiversity Areas and 16% with Remaining Wilderness (sites considered important priorities for halting diversity loss).

The authors discovered that a greater proportion of pre-operational mines are targeting materials needed for renewable energy production (nearly 84%) compared to around 73% of operational mines. They also observed that pre-operational mines targeting renewable materials also appear to be more densely packed together than those targeting other materials.

Increasing the extent and density of mining areas will cause additional threats to biodiversity suggest the authors, and they argue that without strategic planning these new threats to biodiversity may surpass those averted by climate change mitigation.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17928-5


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