Paradise Lost? The red right hand of green technology

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses issues of climate and environmental injustice through the lens of electric vehicle (EV) usage. The current market for batteries relies very heavily on Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries, as they provide ‘high efficiency and low cost’. In 2020, BloombergNEF forecast that by 2040, 58% of global passenger vehicles sales would be EVs, with demand for batteries rising commensurately. Between 2010 and 2021, average unit price for EV batteries fell from $1,200 to $132 per kW/h.

This article considers the environmental impacts of EVs and assesses the extent to which impacts on local communities are reflected accurately in calculations of the benefits of EV technology. It concludes that whilst the carbon emissions and impact on climate of using EVs is significantly lower than for using petrol or diesel vehicles, the current 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-193
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Human Rights and the Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

© Sneddon 2023. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 14(2), 169–193, 2023


  • Environmental Justice
  • Climate Justice
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Batteries


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