On Tuesday, President Joe Biden supported electric cars (EVs) in his State of the Union Address, announcing his ambitions to construct a “national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.”
By doing so, Biden unknowingly supports the world’s greatest human rights violations. This is due to the methods employed to get the materials necessary to manufacture the batteries that power today’s EVs.
To achieve a good power density per pound of battery weight, EV makers often utilize various lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Li-ion batteries are named because the positive electrode, referred to as the cathode, is mostly composed of the extremely reactive element lithium (Li).
To maintain the cathode’s stability while the battery is not in use, the lithium is mixed with a metal oxide matrix, with various manufacturers employing a variety of metal combinations.
Most EV manufacturers mix lithium with nickel, cobalt, and manganese to make a lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide matrix for the cathode.
Tesla replaces manganese with aluminum (Al), resulting in a Li-Ni-Co-Al oxide matrix for the cathode of their batteries. Tesla says that its formulations are more cost-effective because they use less cobalt.
In all situations, the negative electrode of an EV battery referred to as the anode is mostly graphite.
To support Biden’s massive EV development, we will require enormous quantities of the resources required to build EV batteries, including lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel, manganese, and aluminum.
Consider the origins of only three of these substances—lithium, cobalt, and graphite—to see where human rights concerns occur.
A typical 1,000-pound Li-ion EV battery contains around 25 pounds of lithium. Because lithium brines often contain less than 0.1% lithium, about 25,000 pounds of brines are required to obtain 25 pounds of pure lithium.
It is mostly mined from Tibet and the highlands of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile (58 percent of the world’s lithium deposits are located in Chile, according to the US Geological Survey), together referred to as the “lithium triangle.”
Lithium manufacturing leads to the dead, poisoned fish and cow and yak corpses drifting down the Liqi River in Tibet. This river has completely poisoned the Ganzizhou Rongda Li mine in Tibet.
Similarly, indigenous peoples in the lithium triangle suffer polluted streams used for human use, animal watering, irrigation systems, and mountains left desolate due to wasted lithium brine salt.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development discussed this in a paper titled “COMMODITIES AT A GLANCE Special edition on crucial battery raw materials,” published in 2020.
A typical 1,000-pound Li-ion EV battery also includes around 30 pounds of cobalt.
Cobalt ore grades are typically about 0.1 percent, meaning over 30,000 pounds of ore must be processed to obtain 30 pounds of cobalt.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, which controls 50% of the world’s cobalt deposits, accounts for over two-thirds of worldwide cobalt output. This results in massive humanitarian atrocities.
At least 40,000 youngsters in Congo — some as young as four years old — labor alongside their parents for less than $2 per day.
They are subjected to a variety of psychological abuse and abuses and substantial physical hazards.
Ronald Stein, an engineer and energy consultant, and Todd Royal, an independent public policy consultant specializing in energy’s geopolitical implications, go into greater detail in their book Clean Energy Exploitations – Assisting citizens in comprehending the environmental and human rights abuses that support ‘clean’ energy”:
“Cave-ins, continual exposure to poisonous, radioactive water, dust, and deadly air laden with cobalt, lead, and uranium, as well as other heavy metals, inhaled into lungs daily so western residents may feel good about their Tesla or wind turbine.”
Cobalt ore is sent to China since one of the largest mines in the Congo is owned by the Chinese.”
A 1,000-pound battery for an electric vehicle also contains 110 pounds of graphite. Each battery requires the processing of 1,100 pounds of ore at a 10% concentration.
China presently produces over 70% of the world’s natural graphite. Villagers living near graphite industries in northeast China’s provinces complain of “sparkling night air,” agricultural damage, soot-covered homes and possessions, and contaminated drinking water.
Biden spoke of advancing “environmental justice” and “increasing fairness” in his State of the Union address. “I will be candid with you, as I have always promised,” the president stated.
Biden now needs to be candid about electric automobiles. They blatantly violate fundamental principles of environmental justice. They are unjust to the impoverished of the globe who suffer and die so that affluent western elites can virtue signal with their electric automobiles.