Climate Change and Mining – A Foreign Policy Perspective

Climate Change and Mining. A Foreign Policy Perspective - adelphi report
Rüttinger, Lukas and Vigya Sharma 2016: Climate Change and Mining. A Foreign Policy Perspective. Berlin: adelphi.

The growing number and impact of extreme weather events has led to increasing awareness in the extractives industries of the potential negative impacts of climate change. The mining industry has started thinking about their own vulnerabilities and the risks climate change could pose. However, there has been little research and political debate that takes a more comprehensive look at the links between climate change and mining. “Climate Change and Mining. A Foreign Policy Perspective” tries to fill this gap by shedding some light on these links and providing an overview of the complex challenges around extractive resources in the context of climate change.

The report argues that foreign policy makers should pay more attention to the links between mining and climate change because (1) the mining sector is one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases and it produces fossil energy resources that also significantly contribute to global CO2 emissions, (2) mining is a sector that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, (3) mining is a significant contributor to the development of many countries around the world, in particular many developing and emerging economies, and (4) developed, industrialised economies are dependent on functioning supply chains and security of supply of the resources that drive their economies. These links pose significant risks not only for the extractives sector, but also the larger economy that are shared by resource-dependent and resource-rich countries.

Against this background, foreign policy should take a more active role in addressing these risks and engage with the extractives sector as part of its climate diplomacy efforts, the authors argue. Based on an analyses of current policy approaches and initiatives, the report provides several recommendations and policy options.