The sprint to supply automakers with heavy-duty lithium batteries is propelled by climate-conscious countries like the United States that aspire to abandon gas-powered cars and SUVs. They are racing to secure the materials needed to go electric, and the Biden administration is under pressure to fast-track mammoth extraction projects that threaten to unleash their own environmental fallout.
Extraction proposals include vacuuming the ocean floor, disturbing marine ecosystems; and mining Native American ancestral sites and pristine federal lands. Proponents of these proposals argue that China controls most of the market for the raw material refining needed for the batteries, posing economic and security threats. But opponents say the negative environmental impact will be worse than the oil fracking that electric vehicles are projected to replace.
Not just the batteries but the electricity needed to run electric vehicles (EVs) poses environmental concerns. Currently, generating electric fuel depends heavily on non-renewable sources.
Hemp fuel and other biofuels could reduce carbon emissions while saving the electric grid, but they’re often overlooked for more expensive, high-tech climate solutions.