Jeremy Williams’ latest blog points to concerns about the supply chains needed in the production of batteries upon which the shift to electrically powered vehicle transport depend. In addition to the toxic waste arising from discarding batteries, cobalt is a key ingredient of battery manufacture.
“Half the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is often mined by hand in appalling conditions. The ‘artisanal’ mines of the DRC often lack even basic health and safety guidelines or protective equipment. Children as young as seven have been found at work on mining sites, and they may be earning as little as $2 a day for a 12 hour shift. “

Williams concludes:
“If we are going to advocate battery power, we need to do so responsibly. The fossil fuel industry has a long legacy of war, exploitation, plunder and pollution. As we put those fuels behind us, let’s make sure we leave the abuse behind too, and ensure that the electric transport revolution is fair as well as clean.”