The Biden administration is attempting to shift America from gasoline-powered cars to electric-powered cars. However, there are a lot of things that they are not telling Americans about what is involved in that shift. We were given a clue recently when California, which has a lot of electric cars, asked the owners of those cars not to charge their vehicles because of power shortages. There are some valid questions as to whether or not the American power grid has the ability to support the widespread use of electric cars. It is also interesting that just as America became capable of being energy independent (we enjoyed energy independence under the Trump administration) because of natural gas and petroleum resources, the Biden administration decided not to use those domestic resources and is instead proposing something that would put America at the mercy of foreign supply chains.
Lets look at some of the environmental facts regarding electric vehicles. First of all, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the typical electric car contains six times more minerals than a gas-powered car.
In May 2021, the IEA reported the following:
The special report, The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions, is the most comprehensive global study to date on the central importance of minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements in a secure and rapid transformation of the global energy sector. Building on the IEA’s longstanding leadership role in energy security, the report recommends six key areas of action for policy makers to ensure that critical minerals enable an accelerated transition to clean energy rather than becoming a bottleneck.
“Today, the data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals that are essential to realising those ambitions,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA. “The challenges are not insurmountable, but governments must give clear signals about how they plan to turn their climate pledges into action. By acting now and acting together, they can significantly reduce the risks of price volatility and supply disruptions.”
“Left unaddressed, these potential vulnerabilities could make global progress towards a clean energy future slower and more costly – and therefore hamper international efforts to tackle climate change,” Dr Birol said. “This is what energy security looks like in the 21st century, and the IEA is fully committed to helping governments ensure that these hazards don’t derail the global drive to accelerate energy transitions.”
Keep in mind that the IEA is one of the groups supporting getting away from fossil fuels. Somehow getting away from fossil fuels was not a worldwide goal until it was discovered that America had a lifetime supply of fossil fuels.
So lets look at some of the minerals involved. Although America has large lithium reserves, we only have one lithium mine. Mining lithium is energy-intensive and polluting.
In 2018 Fair Planet noted:
Behind a burgeoning demand for cobalt, a key component in Lithium-ion batteries used in electronic gadgets and vehicles, is the heartrending story of tens of thousands of children, some as young as seven, involved in back breaking and hazardous mining of the precious commodity in the Democratic Republic of Congo while earning a paltry one dollar a day.
Yet this represents a small fraction of a practice now entrenched world over with studies estimating that up to one million children are working in mines globally.
From the gold fields of Tanzania, Mali and Ghana to diamonds in the Central Africa Republic, these young ones will work for up to 24 hours a day digging deep pits to reach the minerals, breaking stones, and carrying heavy loads while being exposed to some of the most harmful toxins like mercury which they use to process the minerals.
There’s more. Nickel mining in Indonesia is a major source of pollution. Coal produces a large portion of the electricity used around the world (particularly in China). More electricity will be needed to power the electric cars the environmentalists are encouraging all of us to buy. Lithium-ion batteries need to be recycled properly–if not properly recycled, they can cause fires.
The bottom line is simple–we don’t know as much about electric cars as we should before we encourage the replacement of gasoline engines. Moving to electric cars may actually cause more harm to the environment than gasoline-powered cars.