Environmentalists’ Silence on Humanity and Environmental Atrocities

Published April 30, 2024

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.

Both China and Africa have minimal labor and environmental laws, resulting in extensive environmental degradation and humanity atrocities that support “clean” EV batteries. Both Lithium and Cobalt, the major components of the EV battery, are noted on The Periodic Table of Endangered Elements as having limited availability or experiencing a rising threat from increased usage.

It appears that it is both unethical and immoral to continue financially encouraging China and Africa to exploit “their” poor with yellow, brown, and black skin and financially supporting environmental degradation to “their” landscapes just to support clean EV batteries in “our backyards.”

The safety of lithium-ion batteries is becoming a sensitive subject. If they’re punctured, crushed, or overheated, they can short-circuit, catch on fire, or even explode. Things can get nasty when they do. EV battery fires can reach temperatures topping 1,000 degrees and emit toxic gases. Worse, they can’t be extinguished by water or normal firefighting chemicals. With potential fires from the EV batteries in vehicles:

> Who is going to take the insurance responsibility for their safe passage from the foreign manufacturers to American ports, the cargo ships, or the manufacturers?

> Who is going to take the insurance responsibility for the potential damage from such an EV battery fire in a garage, from an office or apartment building, an underground parking structure, or in a tunnel of a major highway system?

The recent book, “Clean Energy Exploitations” – Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses That Support Clean Energy, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The book discusses the lack of transparency to the world of the green movement’s impact on humanity’s exploitations in the developing countries that are mining for the exotic minerals and metals required to create the batteries needed to store “green energy.” In these developing countries, these mining operations disproportionately impact low-income communities, exploit child labor, and are responsible for the most egregious human rights violations of vulnerable minority populations. These operations are also directly destroying the planet through environmental degradation.

Soon after the “Clean Energy Exploitations” nomination for a Pulitzer Prize, President Biden provided validation to the book’s message that there is no such thing as a clean supply chain of minerals and metals from lesser developed countries. All are tainted by various degrees of abuse, including slavery, child labor, forced labor, debt bondage, human trafficking, hazardous and toxic working conditions, low wages, injury and death, and incalculable environmental harm when the Biden administration declared October 4, 2022, that batteries from China may be tainted by child labor. However, other government leaders believe that zero emissions at any cost is more important than the environmental and humanity abuses that support “clean” electricity.

Of the six electrical generation methods, occasional generated electricity from wind and solar cannot compete with continuous uninterruptable electricity from hydro, nuclear, coal, or natural gas:

> Wind and solar generate occasional electricity.

> Hydro, nuclear, coal, and natural gas generate continuous uninterruptible electricity.

I find it both amusing and sick that twenty-three states have adopted goals to move to 100 percent “clean” ELECTRICITY by 2050. The elephant in the room that no policymaker wants to discuss is that:

> Occasional electricity generated from wind and solar CANNOT supports computers for hospitals, airports, offices, manufacturing, military sites, data centers, and telemetry, which all need continuous uninterruptable supplies of electricity.

> Neither the occasional electricity from wind turbines or solar panels, can replace the supply chain of products from crude oil that are the foundation of our materialistic society demanded by the 8 billion on this planet as wind and solar CANNOT manufacture anything.

Photo by Julien Harneis. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.