The far seas have brought wealth to Singapore for centuries through marine trade. But the city-state is eyeing the oceans for deeper pots of gold.
Singapore’s trade and industry ministry told Eco-Business it supports efforts by the UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority, which is drafting rules for countries to mine metals like cobalt, copper and nickel from the seabed thousands of metres deep.
Such materials go into popular climate-tech goods like electric cars and solar panels, but scientists warn that we don’t yet know if the environmental benefits of these products outweigh the risks of plundering an ecosystem we know less about than the surface of the moon.
Current rules mean deep sea mining could start in 2023, if the necessary legalities are settled. There is growing opposition from both countries — such as Chile, Fiji and France — and firms — like BMW, Google and Patagonia — because of the environmental risks. But Singapore is not alone in pushing for seabed mining. The city state is joined by countries like Australia, Germany and Japan.
Also, as Singapore pumps more money into green investments, questions are being raised about whether its state investor can jettison, or make green, the carbon-intensive sectors it is funding.
Amid complex problems and faltering steps, pessimism is tempting. But recently, a young local non-profit wrote in to argue why we shouldn’t give up on the much-maligned world of ESG investing just yet.
There's a need for cool heads in a hot world.