Environmentalists' Silence on Humanity and Environmental Atrocities


While wind and solar do not emit carbon dioxide, there are substantial environmental degradation and humanity atrocities occurring in China, Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. The materials for EV batteries and to produce electricity from wind turbines and solar panels require large-scale mining of critical minerals and metals, many of which are mined and refined in countries like China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human rights violations against miners are common and environmental protections are limited.

Environmentalists’ tunnel vision just toward the wealthier countries on this planet that can afford the cost of regulations for the environmental movement to large batteries for electric cars, trucks, buses, and for electricity to be generated occasionally by wind turbines and solar panels, is tunnel vision that is hypocritical, unethical, and immoral.

  • China controls a stranglehold of 80% of the global supply monopoly on rare earth minerals and metals.
  • The Congo in Africa is a 90% source of vital cobalt.
  • Lithium: The Lithium Triangle, which covers parts of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, holds more than 50% of the world’s supply of lithium.
  • Graphite: On a total component basis for an EV battery, graphite is about 25% to 28% of the whole EV battery. Turkey has the largest reserves of graphite, followed by Brazil and China. Together these three countries accounted for 66% of the estimated world graphite reserves.

Today, a typical EV battery weighs 1,000 pounds and contains:

  • 25 pounds of lithium,
  • 60 pounds of nickel,
  • 44 pounds of manganese,
  • 30 pounds cobalt,
  • 200 pounds of copper, and
  • 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic.
  • Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern everyone that all those “blood minerals” come from mining at locations in the world that are never seen by environmentalists, policymakers, or EV buyers.

For instance, to manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, just one Tesla EV battery requires the processing of more than 500,000 pounds of materials somewhere on the planet.

A battery for a heavy-duty electric truck can weigh up to 16,000 pounds, which is 16 times more than the Tesla battery! A single truck battery requires 8,000,000 pounds of earth to be dug up. That’s astounding – digging up 8 million pounds of earth for each truck battery!

EVs are heavily subsidized in multiple ways: through direct federal and state tax benefits to purchasers, through government loan incentives to manufacturers, and through added production costs passed on to gasoline vehicle purchasers.

Read the rest of this piece at America Out Loud.

Ronald Stein is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for the Heartland Institute and CFACT, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book "Clean Energy Exploitations."

Photo: courtesy America Out Loud.