The African slavery behind the leftists' green dreams
One of Joe Biden's initiatives is to get Americans into electric cars. In his first week in the White House, he announced that he wants every car that the federal government owns to be electric. Moreover, his $2-trillion "infrastructure" plan calls for giving taxpayer-funded rebates to electric car buyers and to increase the number of charging stations (although without also increasing the amount of available electricity). What Biden and other Green Deal proponents are ignoring is that the lithium that is an essential ingredient in electric car batteries comes from slave labor in Africa.
Don Surber (one of the best writers around) caught up with the Deseret News's update about a lawsuit filed in 2019:
An attempt by Congolese parents to sue Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Dell Technologies, Microsoft and Tesla in U.S. federal court received publicity from a story in the Deseret News.
Via the story, the lawsuit says, "Cobalt is a key component of every rechargeable lithium-ion battery in all of the gadgets made by defendants and all other tech and electric car companies in the world that has brought on the latest wave of cruel exploitation fueled by greed, corruption and indifference to a population of powerless, starving Congolese people."
The charge is that cobalt workers are slaves.
Don notes that the defendants assert that the cases should be dismissed because they have no practical or legal control over mining practices in a foreign country. However, Don makes the more important point that "just because something is legal that does not make it right":
The lawsuit says, "There is no question that defendants have specific knowledge that the cobalt mined in DRC they use in their various products includes cobalt that was produced by children working under extremely hazardous conditions, that serious mining accidents are common due to the primitive conditions and complete lack of safety precautions in the mines, and that hundreds, if not thousands, of children have been maimed or killed to produce the cobalt needed for the world's modern tech gadgets produced by defendants and other companies."
Don has a lot more to say on the subject, all of it worth reading. I have a few more points to make about the illogic of electric cars.
First, Joe's plan to have taxpayers subsidize electric cars is a money transfer to his wealthier constituents. The subsidies won't bring down the price of the cars because there are no market forces at work. Instead, they will do what previous electric car subsidies will have done: make electric cars a little more affordable for rich people. This means that those people who earn very little but still make enough to pay taxes cannot afford electric cars for themselves but will help subsidize affluent people's virtue-signaling car-buying practices.
Second, until they invent an electric car that can charge in the same five minutes it takes to fill a tank of gas, they're a bad deal for anyone planning to travel long distances. I calculated the extra time it would take to drive a Tesla from the San Francisco Bay Area to Eastern Tennessee using Tesla's supercharging stations. It added an extra 40 hours to the trip — or about four days. That means three extra nights in hotels, significantly driving up the trip's cost, as well as wasting time.
Third, batteries don't hold their charge in cold weather. It's bad enough if the cold weather kills your regular battery, requiring a jump start. Imagine if cold weather had the practical effect of draining your gas tank, too.
Fourth, our electric grid cannot sustain a mass of electric cars. A July 2020 study that the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy is clear: until 2028, if functioning at maximum efficiency, the best our electric grid can do is to handle 24 million light-duty passenger electric vehicles, without any trucks or other heavier-duty vehicles. After that, there need to be big changes to the grid, or EVs will have maxed out. And of course, a bigger grid will produce more pollution, which is merely displaced from the car's exhaust pipe.
Fifth, slavery's not the only problem with the materials. Creating lithium batteries destroys not only children, but also the environment. Additionally, used batteries are a major environmental hazard.
Electric cars are fun to drive: zippy, filled with cool gadgets, quiet, and exhaust-free. They also fund slavery, China, pollution, and environmental degradation — and that's not even mentioning the inconvenience factor of slow charging and cold-weather failures.
Bottom line: If black lives really matter, don't buy electric cars.
Image: Child labor at a Congolese cobalt mine. YouTube screen grab. (Once you watch the video from which the image came you may want to ditch not just your electric car, but your phone as well.)