JiaJika, China — It is here that small Tibetan villages have had their lives turned upside down. The picturesque scenery of their homes tainted with poison from the lithium mine in the area — the same lithium used in electric vehicles.
Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau have just announced that they would be investing over a half billion dollars to re-tool the Ford automotive plant in Oakville to produce electric vehicles. I’m sure some will be quick to applaud this decision, but it is wrong to pick winners and losers in the marketplace using taxpayers dollars — and there is a need to have an honest conversation about EV’s.
Through an Access to Information request, it was first reported by Rebel News that Canada’s Department of Transport paid $186,079,748 in rebates to electric car buyers during the first year of the program — all without publicly providing information on the program’s impact on climate change mitigation.
The political obsession to fight “climate change” has always centered around the production, and emissions attached to carbon. However, if the purpose is really to benefit the planet, and benefit our environment, this single pronged focus is not enough. We must focus on the environmental impacts of the production processes in addition to their “lifetime” output of carbon emissions.
Lithium is in demand all around the world for the production of smartphones, electric vehicle batteries, laptops and even ceramics and glass. Big government interventions that steer consumers into the electric vehicle market will only add to the demand in an already booming lithium industry.
Understanding the impacts of Lithium mining
“The river used to be full of fish. Today, there are hardly any. Hundreds of yaks, the villagers say, have died in the past few years after drinking river water.” — A description of China near the lithium mine.
As with any mining process, there is always risked posed to the environment — especially when left in the hands of governments who show no concern for the environment, or human rights. So who are the countries that will likely meet the increase demand for production in lithium mining?
Well, the top three countries for lithium production are;
Here’s the thing though — the biggest producer of lithium in Australia — is also a Chinese mining company. “Tianqi Lithium, based in Chengdu, China, is a global leader with over 20 years’ experience in the production of lithium products. The Kwinana Plant is the first lithium hydroxide plant outside of China and the largest of its kind in the world.”
China has proven that they don’t have any regard for human rights, or the environment. So how can they be trusted to be at the spearhead of the lithium mining that will lead the “green revolution?”
Let me summarize, we have governments intervening to help increase demand in electric cars, which will in turn increase demand for lithium, and that demand will be met by a country with one of the world’s worse environmental track records? Sounds like a plan for success to me.
There is other places where lithium is available and the governments seem to show some regard for the environment — but will governments demand that companies like Ford Motor Company source their batteries from the countries with the best environmental practices?
It’s not likely, companies generally go for the cheapest source of material, and if no one is demanding it, and pressuring them to assure they source their materials from ethical suppliers, it just won’t happen.
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