Published on November 8th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
COP 27 Leaders Are Climate Change Hypocrites
Developed nations leaders will ‘push’ us to drive electric cars but they drive fuel guzzlers even at COP 27.
They say that electric mobility is the primary tool to reduce carbon emissions from road transport, so why are ‘they’ and their agencies NOT using electric cars as their daily transport?
In recent years, there has been an acceleration in the deployment of electric vehicles, like in Malaysia with huge tax incentives (which only assists rich Malaysians to get a tax free imported car), but how is that helping the average Malaysian who cannot afford an EV?
They say selling prices of new EV’s should be reducing with the decreasing cost of batteries. However, we are seeing new EV’s going up in selling price here in Malaysia and also neighboring countries.
They say, to meet climate goals, electric vehicle sales must accelerate further and large volumes of batteries will have to be produced. In addition, batteries are extremely important for the integration of renewables in the electricity grid, making batteries a true key enabling technology for net zero.
The mining of materials to make EV batteries are not being done in these nations, not in their backyard. Let’s take a closer look at the people close to mines and their health.
They say the scale up of this key technology will require cooperation. On the one hand, cooperation between industry and government is essential to ensure the rapid growth of a sustainable industry.
On the other hand, international cooperation is essential to ensure that all countries involved across the supply chain work together to speed up deployment, while ensuring that all parties can reap the benefits of this growing industry.
They say the aim of COP 27 is to bring together representatives from industry and government to discuss their experiences in public-private and international cooperation as well as to explore new ways to accelerate the industry’s development.
Interestingly, are they looking at the mining and the final disposal of expired EV batteries?
Meanwhile, as usual, some politician will make a statement that does not benefit nations mining the minerals for EV batteries. Reuters just reported that a Republican U.S. representatives heading to U.N. climate talks in Egypt plan to discuss developing critical minerals used in everything from nuclear energy and electricity transmission to batteries for electric vehicles.
Mining the various metals needed to make a lithium battery requires extensive resources — it takes 500,000 gallons of water to mine one ton of lithium.
Mining for the metals in lithium batteries is also known to be toxic to human health. One of the metals in lithium batteries that is most dangerous — and considered one of the most valuable metals in the battery — is the metal cobalt.
One of the most common places for cobalt mining is the Democratic Republic of Congo — two-thirds of the global supply being mined from the country.
Yet recently, humanitarian activists have raised questions over the work conditions, particularly in regards to child labor and human health. If not handled correctly, cobalt can be very toxic to workers’ health.
One of the first environmental issues lithium batteries pose is how to dispose of them properly.
In an average battery recycling plant, all parts of the battery are shredded into a powder using a mechanical shredder and then either melted (pyrometallurgy) or dissolved into acid (hydrometallurgy) — recycling lithium batteries isn’t as simple.
Lithium batteries are made up of a multitude of components including four key components that make up the function of a lithium battery — a metal cathode (which collects the electrons), an anode (the electrode that releases electrons into the external circuit), a separator and an electrolyte (the medium that transports the electrons between the cathode and the anode.)
Lithium batteries are also made up of a mix of different elements including cobalt, nickel, manganese and iron — cobalt known to be a hazardous substance.
Due to all of these complex components that make up a lithium battery, they need to be dismantled by hand in order to avoid explosion — and even when done by hand, it still has the potential to combust.
Since they need to be recycled in such a meticulous way, only 5% of lithium batteries are actually recycled — the rest going to waste. Evidence also suggests it costs more to recycle a lithium battery than to produce one.