Paradise Lost? The red right hand of green technology

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper addresses issues of climate and environmental injustice through the lens of the boom in the use electric vehicles (EVs). Whilst the carbon emissions and impact on climate of using EVs is significantly lower than for using petrol or diesel vehicles, the cost of the technology simply does not reflect the disproportionate impact on the populations living near the extraction sites for the minerals needed in EV batteries.

The current market for batteries relies very heavily on Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries, as they provide “high efficiency and low cost” (Hong et al, 2020). BloombergNEF (2020) forecast that 58% of global passenger vehicles sales will be EVs by 2040, and thus demand for batteries will rise commensurately. Unit price for EV batteries has fallen from over $1000 per kW/h in 2010 to below $100 per kW/h in 2020 (Bloomberg, 2020).

The paper considers the environmental and climate impacts of this extraction stage, and assesses the extent to which the impacts on local communities are reflected accurately in the calculations of the benefits of EV technology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Rights and the Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Environmental Justice
  • Climate Justice
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Batteries

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