German resource strategy update from the climate ministry suggests putting more emphasis on recycling

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMWK) in Germany has recommended revising the country’s resource supply strategy in order to make the economy suitable for the requirements of a decarbonized energy system. According to a comment made by State Secretary Franziska Brantner on Twitter, the new strategy should build the framework for a “huge increase” in technologies that do not rely on fossil fuels by putting an emphasis on resource efficiency and recycling.

Brantner stated, “We need the most inventive ideas,” and he went on to clarify that this would be supported by monetary incentives, the creation of clear rules for the circulation of resources, the removal of regulatory impediments, and the speeding up of administrative procedures. According to projections made by the International Energy Agency and by Germany’s resource agency (DERA), the demand for vital raw materials necessary for the energy transition, such as rare earths minerals or lithium, may increase by as much as a factor of forty between now and the year 2040. According to the statement made by the BMWK, “all evaluations demonstrate that an inadequate supply of these resources poses a serious barrier to achieving global climate targets.”

According to the statement made by the ministry, new supply chains should be opened and current ones should be properly analyzed if quotas are set for recycled materials and “lead markets” are established for the trade of certain critical commodities that have been used previously. In addition, local and European resources should be given a greater amount of attention in order to increase the exploration of new reserves and decrease the EU’s reliance on imported goods.

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A fund to assist in increasing production capacity both domestically and globally was also recommended by the ministry, as was assistance for businesses in the process of stockpiling essential raw materials. The ministry has stated that it wants to support the EU Raw Material Act and ensure that resource extraction occurs in accordance with international development and sustainability targets. It plans to do this by entering into direct bilateral resource partnerships with countries that are located outside of Europe and by applying ESG (environmental, social, and governance) standards in investment projects in a comprehensive manner.

As the economy shifts toward non-fossil technologies such as electric automobiles, renewable energy installations, and other non-fossil technologies, the importance of Germany’s mineral resources as a source of industry and energy supply is growing. Even before the energy crisis hit in 2022, the supply of certain vital resources had already begun to become stressed, and government agencies were bemoaning their significant overreliance on specific import partner countries like China. As a result of the great value that can be gained from improved recycling, numerous business organizations have high hopes for the development of a thriving recycling industry.

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