Scarcity of raw materials

Last week I visited the “European Forum for Manufacturing Roundtable” The general focus was on scarcity of materials with some highlights on raw materials. Environmental Commissioner, Janez Potocnic, expressed deep concerns about the present development where raw materials are used with much consideration of future generations.
Several aspects needs to be considered and a life cycle approach is important for the full assessment. Much of the high tech development relies on scarce materials and materials that have a high environmental load during production. It is important for Europe to find a path to a sustainable society and public procurement is one out of several tools that can be applied.
The meeting was chaired by Malcolm Harbour, Member of the European Parliament. Mr. Harbour summarised that there is a concern in the European industry for Europe losing a lot of the raw material and manufacturing industry unless Europe find ways to balance both environment and industrial development.
My presentation focused on the transportation sector and in particular the total environmental impact. The energy use dominate the use phase while the use of raw materials contribute during the manufacturing. Most materials (about 91%) are recycled. Iron/steel, aluminium and copper contribute the most to the recycling, by weight. I expressed concerns about the need for common definitions in the person transport sectors. Local demands for “environmental transports” vary from city to city. And, different demands are put on different types on transports (e.g. air, car, rail, metro, tram, bus). EU should be more active in the harmonisation across the sectors.
Do I have to ad that buses and coaches are the preferred choice for most transports?

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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