Why deep-sea mining is the next battleground in the energy transition

Growing demand for metals used in electric vehicle batteries has sparked an international race for deep-sea drilling. And there are no rules.

On Sunday, the International Seabed Authority missed a crucial deadline for creating a regulatory framework, which means companies can now apply for licenses before the rules become final. Representatives from the agency, which is made up of 167 member states and the European Union, met in Jamaica for two weeks to discuss what should happen next.

Canada, France, Germany and others want to stop deep-sea mining because of its largely unknown environmental consequences. But countries including China, Norway and Russia are pushing ahead with creating the framework, arguing that it is less destructive than land mining.

Meanwhile, seabed exploitation projects are eager to get started.

“We’re preparing our application,” said Gerard Barron, CEO of Metals Company, a Canadian company that has an agreement with the Pacific island nation of Nauru to sponsor its deep-sea mining endeavor.

Mr. Barron told DealBook that the company preferred to have final rules before acting, “but we reserve the right to move forward.”

Regulators are under pressure to act. a United Nations convention Designates waters beyond 12 nautical miles from the territorial coast as common property, which means that profits from minerals discovered there must be shared fairly. The ISA is responsible for establishing a profit-sharing and taxation structure for mining efforts, as well as legal and environmental guidelines. Or it could ban large-scale commercial mining altogether — though It is not clear there is a legal path to stopping.

Mining may damage ecosystems that scientists don’t yet understand, said Jessica Patel, ocean policy expert at the World Wildlife Fund. A study published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, for example, argued that seafloor mining could interfere with the migration patterns of tuna such as Climate change is driving fish into new waters. Ms. Patel is leading an effort to get companies to promise not to fund seabed mining or supply seabed materials in their supply chains. More than 30 companies, including BMW, Google, Samsung, Volvo and Volkswagen, have signed on. similarly, Notable banks in Britainsuch as Lloyds and Standard CharteredThey refuse to deal with deep-sea mining entities. And seafood industry groups have Demand a moratorium.

Some also doubt the economic opportunities. Electric vehicles are expected to account for about 35 percent of cars sold globally by 2030, Up from 14 percent in 2022, according to the Forecasts from the International Energy Agency. This growth will increase the demand for metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel used in batteries. But critics say the expense and logistics of remote ocean mining – and returning minerals to Earth – raises doubts about whether deep-sea mining can be profitable. Ms. Patel has argued other solutions are in the works – eg alternative materials And programs for the recycling and recycling of batteries – they can adequately meet the demand for critical minerals. “This industry can start without having to,” she said of deep-sea mining.

But supporters of seabed mining He says That current mining is worse for the environmentDeep sea mining could help control important minerals from China and Russia. Some also see it as an economic lifeline for small island nations suffering the worst effects of climate change.

Mark Brown, the prime minister of the Cook Islands, said at the United Nations climate conference last year. He referred to allegations of environmental concern from countries that destroyed the planet “through decades of profit-driven development” as “care”.

Mr. Barron of the Metals Company, who was in Jamaica for the ISA meetings this week, noted that even some moratorium states have exploration licences, allowing them to experiment with small-scale mining for research purposes. It is believed that the representatives do not decide whether Deep sea mining can start, but when. “This horse has galloped,” he said. Efrat Livni

A bumpy week for Lina Khan. The FTC chief lost a bid to block Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, opened OpenAI’s first major investigation into ChatGPT’s privacy and security practices, and was questioned by a Republican-led congressional committee on its approach to the agency. The Federal Trade Commission lost its appeal of Microsoft’s ruling.

Hollywood shut down. Actors voted to strike for the first time in 43 years, joining screenwriters who have already taken an industry strike. Unions say they want better pay and higher fees from streaming services and protections to deal with new technological threats, such as artificial intelligence. Studio executives say the demands are unrealistic at a time when the entire industry is crashing.

The details behind the PGA Tour-LIV golf talks. A Senate hearing on a potential deal between the two rival golf rivals revealed new details about the talks: The agreement was announced before it was completed; The PGA Tour did not have the resources to battle the Saudi-backed LIV indefinitely; Governance will be an important part of any final transaction.

Meeting in Shopify. the Embedded Canadian e-commerce company a calculator In employee calendar applications that measure the financial cost of meetings with three or more people. It’s the company’s latest effort to stop pointless gatherings. She had previously canceled all recurring meetings of more than two people.

The rally in technology stocks shows no signs of slowing, with the Nasdaq Composite hitting a 15-month high this week. One of the reasons: Wall Street is betting that improving inflation expectations, confirmed by the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday, will force the Federal Reserve to shift to a more dovish rate policy, which tends to lift technology stocks.

How Big Tech Did You Get? Bank of America researchers published the numbers this week. Here are three takeaways:

  • Stock gains this year have been particularly concentrated among seven companies: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Tesla and Meta.

  • The combined market capitalization of the so-called Magnificent Seven is about $11 trillion, a number that exceeds the GDP of every country except the United States and China.

  • This group has seen its combined market capitalization grow by $4 trillion this year.

  • Companies are rich in money. Six of the seven (all but Amazon) have a combined net worth of $200 billion in cash-to-debt.

what do you want to watch: Large institutional investors have been buying these stocks, which can sustain the rally in the short term. Interest rate risk for these companies is diminished. But the older they are, the more attention they can get from politicians.

Savita Subramanian, head of US equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America, writes in the report that “political campaign rhetoric is likely to include key risks around regulation of big tech companies.

Health authorities have been waging a war on obesity for years. Now, in an effort to curb the rise of large cars like SUVs and reduce pollution, Paris has declared war on “the cars.” Its first step is to charge drivers more to park Vehicles – a move that could eventually hit car companies.

SUV use has risen by more than 60 percent in Paris over the past four years, according to city officials. This reflects a broader trend across the European Union, where SUVs account for approx half of car sales in mass, up from about 14 percent in 2011, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, an auto industry group.

Critics say this is bad for the planet. “We would like the City of Paris to change the prices of paid parking spaces to make them progressive according to the weight and size of the vehicles.” Frédéric Padina Serbet, the city council member behind the increased charges, told the Guardian. He added that the goal was to “focus on the absurd: subjectivity …the inexorable growth in the weight and volume of vehicles circulating in our cities.”

The new rules will add to the concerns of automakers. Details were not disclosed, but electric cars and large families who require larger vehicles are expected to be exempt. Tariffs will be higher It goes into effect on January 1, and could inspire similar moves in other big cities.

“France has traditionally been one of the most aggressive countries in combating the growth of big cars,” Matthias Schmidt, an independent auto analyst, told DealBook. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has already been pressing the French government to do more to support the industry, which is beginning to feel the impact of Tesla’s price cuts and to counter the growing threat of Chinese automakers set to enter Europe. Mr. Schmidt added that the French brands are “in the middle of an uncomfortable sandwich, compressed on top and bottom.”

Expected to premiere is “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1,” the latest installment of Tom Cruise’s efforts to bypass physics for the sake of entertainment. earning $90 million In the first five days, record the franchise. (Mild spoilers ahead.)

But the movie also represents how the hype around AI seeps into pop culture: The movie’s big bad guy is Entity, a rogue AI program that poses a threat to humanity.

For decades, humans’ relationship with artificial intelligence has been explored through films such as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Ex Machina,” and “AI,” but the public appearance of ChatGPT last year gave many people their first chance to converse with intelligence. Artificial visions of sentient technology have made them seem less like science fiction and, for some, evoked existential dread.

Remember how in May more than 350 AI experts called for “mitigation of the extinction risk from AI”? entity is able From “the collapse of the world’s economic systems, the evasion of national security protocols and the redirection of nuclear weapons on a whim.” At least in the movies, a super-secret agent can almost outsmart deadly technology. (We’re assuming; this is a Cruise movie, after all.) In real life, it might take Coordination by legislators around the world – and time will tell if this task is … well, you know.

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