Securing human rights in the supply chain of critical minerals is vital for a green future.
On the face of it, the recent news that California will ban the sale of petrol cars in 2035 and favor electric vehicles is a positive development toward a greener, safer, and more sustainable world. And yet this announcement brings as many questions as answers, not least whether electric vehicles really are the best and easiest solution to the climate crisis.
The reality is far more complicated. The electrification of transport and the construction of new clean energy like solar are vital components of curing the carbon problem. But they come with their own novel and potentially show-stopping environmental and ethical costs, and these must urgently be grappled with by those of us who call for climate action at a rapid rate.
Everyone who expected climate policy to cool in the year of COVID-19 has been sorely disappointed. A flurry of announcements is increasing as the end of the year approaches, mostly relating to either general climate ambition, the accelerated deployment of mature technologies, or innovation to create new ones.
China’s plan to hit net zero by 2060 took the climate policy wonks by surprise. The European Union’s new climate ambitions are locked in political struggles but will be solidified soon. The materials required for new technologies, such as lithium and copper, are shaping maps of influence. Even one of the poorest nations on the planet, Afghanistan, is being drawn into the geopolitical struggle over these resources.
For the rest of this article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/10/15/clean-energy-dirty-roots-electric-vehicles-climate-change-mineral-supply-chain/