Swapping electric cars for internal combustion motors only shifts natural resource and pollution problems, it doesn’t eliminate or even ameliorate them. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
While the idea of implementing net zero emissions by certain deadlines has sounded great for the companies, countries and states that have set targets, the reality of making it happen is slightly more difficult.
That’s what the U.K. is finding out after Natural History Museum Head of Earth Sciences Prof Richard Herrington penned a letter to the Committee on Climate Change on the vast amount of natural resources that will be necessary to make the conversion. The letter was delivered to Baroness Brown, who chairs the Adaption Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change.
In addition to noting that the U.K. would need a 20% increase in UK-generated electricity, the release also notes that “to meet UK electric car targets for 2050 we would need to produce just under two times the current total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production.”
The letter reads:
“The urgent need to cut CO2 emissions to secure the future of our planet is clear, but there are huge implications for our natural resources not only to produce green technologies like electric cars but keep them charged.
“Over the next few decades, global supply of raw materials must drastically change to accommodate not just the UK’s transformation to a low carbon economy, but the whole world’s. Our role as scientists is to provide the evidence for how best to move towards a zero-carbon economy – society needs to understand that there is a raw material cost of going green and that both new research and investment is urgently needed for us to evaluate new ways to source these. This may include potentially considering sources much closer to where the metals are to be used.”