The World Economic Forum believes we need to have 100 million electric vehicles globally by 2030. However, it warns realizing this goal “could inflict unintended harm on both humans and the environment” unless we manage technology. Moreover, batteries role in fighting climate change can only materialize once we cross five critical barriers.
Barriers to Batteries Role in Fighting Climate Change
# 1: Electric lithium car batteries can be responsible for more carbon emissions than gasoline, over their lifetime. Here we think of dirty energy for manufacturing, recharging, and recycling.
# 2: Battery production causes even more environment damage than carbon. Here we think of wastewater, fumes, dust, and the social disaster of cobalt mining in the DRC.
# 3: Blind spots about re-purposing further diminish batteries role in fighting climate change. Because we are scrapping old electric car batteries instead of reusing them for stationery storage and load balancing.
# 4: Moreover, we are manufacturing electric car batteries in ways that make them prohibitively expensive to recycle. Ninety percent of old car batteries could lie buried in landfill forever.
# 5: We need to be smarter at addressing environmental and social fall outs arising from electric car batteries, Or else, batteries role in fighting climate change will lie largely dormant.
Cobalt Mining in the Democratic Region of the Congo
Ways to Increase Batteries Role in Fighting Climate Change
We need to find ways to make batteries that charge faster, and manufacture with a view to recycling. This will require a coordinated approach involving battery and electric car makers, and also consumers. We need to come to grips with the human suffering caused by cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We must stop blind-siding toxic lithium spills in Brazil, nickel surface water pollution in Russia, and acid rain in China. If we do not do so, then batteries role in fighting climate change could turn out a false promise in the end.
Preview Image: Electric Car Battery
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