Can it be that current battery technology is hard on the environment? UN highlights urgent need to tackle impact of likely electric car battery production boom.
I’m not sure why the article is accompanied by a photo of a stripping-shovel in a Brazilian coal mine; I guess it is supposed to represent ecological devastation.
So it turns out that the materials needed for your electric car’s battery have some problems.
For example, two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.
And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon ancestral settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, groundwater depletion and pollution.
But the good folks driving electric cars can feel secure in knowing that when they drive their vehicle, they foisted all those problems on people far away; people that they don’t need to worry about. Or something. (Hat tip to Not a Lot of People Know That.)