Dear Editor

I note the PM announced yesterday that petrol/diesel-powered cars will be phased out and replaced by EVs. I wonder if she has considered the environmental impact her decision will have on our planet as the demand for lithium and cobalt increases?

Lithium-ion batteries are a crucial component of EVs and (for example) the battery of a Tesla has about 20 kgs of lithium in it. Others batteries have even more.

It is said that approximately 500,000 kgs of dirt needs to be processed to extract sufficient lithium and minerals to make one car battery! It also requires millions of litres of water to wash said dirt!

Demand for lithium will now increase exponentially and so too will the environmental impact on our planet – the very planet she wants to protect from all that nasty CO2!

But there’s a problem. As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium and cobalt required to enable that transformation will become a serious issue in its own right.

It gets worse. The Democratic Republic of Congo is recognised as providing 1/2 of the world’s demand for cobalt, a metal used in manufacture of EV batteries. Not only do these mines cause massive environmental pollution but it would appear much of the cobalt mined is by children!

Child labour Congo. Children cobalt mining
Child labour Congo. Children cobalt mining

“First, raw materials needed for batteries are extracted at a high human and environmental toll. This includes, for example, child labour, health and safety hazards in informal work, poverty and pollution. Second, a recycling challenge looms over the eleven million tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries forecast to be discarded by 2030, with few systems in place to enable reuse and recycling in a circular economy for batteries.”

weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/the-dirty-secret-of-electric-vehicles

I doubt the PM has considered the impact EVs will have on the planet. I don’t think those thinking about purchasing an EV will have either.
It would seem the “cure” is a million times worse than the “disease.”

Oil and gas aren’t so bad after all!

Signed

Andrew


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Letter to the Editor: Lithium Batteries
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