Value Trade Off

Will short-term financial profit over long-term social and ecosystem loss be worth it?

The current solutions for a carbon-free future require batteries, and batteries currently rely on rare metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt and molybdenum being extracted from the sea floor in the central Pacific Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, threatening biodiversity and the nearby Pacific small island states. Will the short-term gain over the long-term loss be worth the trade off?

As we transition from one value system to another, past and future, old and new thinking inevitably conflict. One way to arbitrate this stand-off is to compare the financial realities of one option to another. An excellent example is deep-sea mining, a controversy that has been growing for several years as the world welcomes and considers the idea of new energy systems requiring new capacity for storage and delivery by new technologies such as cell phones, mega-computers, electric cars and other innovations on which it seems we will all depend.

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