Jo Nova has a cracker of a piece on the child labour involved in mining the rare earths for the batteries in your Tesla, not to mention the solar panels on your roof and the windmills that are saving the planet. It is not woke to give kids in the developing world clean and safe work making shoes but cobalt mines are AOK.
But if you only have time to read one post this morning, Read Steve Kates!
Welcome to the Clean Green Future. Demand for rechargeable car batteries is predicted to rise 700% in the next four years. But even at current levels, children are already dying in mines in the Congo, and farmers in Chile are being forced off their land.
…a new report from UNCTAD, warns that the raw materials used in electric car batteries, are highly concentrated in a small number of countries, which raises a number of concerns.
…two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.
And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon ancestral settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, groundwater depletion and pollution.
Liberty Quote – The so-called ‘resource curse’ is not a function of resources, but of weak institutional frameworks in some resource-rich developing countries. Australia, by contrast, scores very highly on comparative measures of institutional quality. — Stephen Kirchner