Replacing all gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles won’t be enough to prevent the world from overheating, says a new U. of California report. “The report offers a look at the environmental and economic sacrifices needed to meet net-zero climate goals,” writes The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 13, 2023).
The study notes three problems:
Problem No. 1: Electric-vehicle batteries require loads of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, which must be extracted from the ground like fossil fuels. If today’s demand for EVs is projected to 2050, the lithium requirements of the US EV market alone would require triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market. Unlike fossil fuels, these minerals are mostly found in undeveloped areas that have abundant natural fauna and are often inhabited by indigenous people. Mining can be done safely, but in poor countries it often isn’t.