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“Circular Economies in Materials Needed to Decarbonize Electricity and Mobility” (May 27, 2021)

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition is proud to present a talk about how we can avoid replacing our old pollution problems with new ones. As we move into renewable energy, solar panels, batteries, and wind turbines need to replaced. What plans do we have to recycle the discarded materials in a finite world? Professor Dustin Mulvaney will talk about the challenges facing our society in the move to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.


Over 90% of the global economy continues to use natural resources unsustainably. The linear “take-make-toss” approach to materials use still prevails over circular economy and industrial ecology ideas in practice. The shift to renewable energy is one step towards building an economy on more circular material flows. But the materials needed to decarbonize electricity and mobility are supplied by mining and extractives industries, places where impacts from natural resource extraction can be most severe. This talk will highlight key issues related to extractives, land, manufacturing, and waste in the clean energy economy.


Dustin Mulvaney is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at San José State University (SJSU) and a Fellow with the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines. His research includes work on just transitions, solar energy commodity chains, and natural resource development. Dr. Mulvaney’s book Solar Power: Innovation, Sustainability, Environmental Justice was published by the University California Press (2019).


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