December 3, 2020

agenda

Climate activists’ hopes to transition Americans to electric vehicles are on a collision course with their anti-mining and zero emissions agendas, according to a new report.



a car parked in a parking lot: FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2020 file photo a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is displayed at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh.  On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, General Motors says a pending breakthrough in battery chemistry will cut the price of its electric vehicles so they equal those powered by gasoline within five years.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)


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FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2020 file photo a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is displayed at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, General Motors says a pending breakthrough in battery chemistry will cut the price of its electric vehicles so they equal those powered by gasoline within five years. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

President-elect Joe Biden made the adoption of elective vehicles (EVs) a key part of his climate policy. He’s pledged to “use the Federal government procurement system — which spends $500 billion every year — to drive towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles,” and to “accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles” through tax credits and subsidies.

The challenge is that EV’s currently account for a small percentage of the more than 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. each year. In 2018 and 2019, there were just 361,000 and 325,000 electric vehicles sold, respectively. Of the 200 million vehicles on the roads in California today, just two million are electric.

Creating the new EVs needed to change those numbers could create its own environmental challenges, according to Ben Lieberman with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who looked at the environmental impact of increasing the production of electric vehicles.

For example, manufacturing the batteries needed for electric vehicles produces more carbon emissions than conventional engines, the report states.

Battery production involves mined minerals such as lithium, cobalt and rare earths. Environmental campaigns against domestic mining have taken a toll on the industry and may force U.S. manufacturers to increase imports from overseas.The environmental standards in many of these nations are weaker, the report noted.

The financial firm UBS found that replacing global sales of conventional vehicles would require a 2,898% increase in lithium; a 1,928% increase in cobalt; a 524% increase in graphite; a 105% increase in nickel; and a 655% increase in rare earths minerals.

Although lithium can be mined in Australia, much of the world’s supply comes from Chile where it causes “ecosystem degradation” and “landscape damage,” according to a United Nations report. Cobalt primarily comes from the Congo and, the CEI reports, “its mining and processing is the stuff of environmentalist and human rights group crusades.”

The other main source for the minerals needed to manufacture electric vehicle batteries is China.

“As with much Chinese-directed industrial activity, most of this mining and processing is subject to minimal environmental protections and is largely powered by coal,” Lieberman wrote in the report.

Few domestic projects fall in line with environmental activists’ agenda to halt mining and other energy development.

Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska is nearing the end of a lengthy environmental review process.

Lieberman’s report notes it could be one of the most productive new mines in decades for harvesting the raw

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