Category Archives: Environment

States to Ban Gas-Powered Cars Despite EVs’ Human, Environmental Costs

Facts? What facts? mrossol

Source: States to Ban Gas-Powered Cars Despite EVs’ Human, Environmental Costs

By Katie Spence, September 12, 2022

In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, locals watch helplessly as their ancestral lands wither and die, their precious water resources evaporating in briny salars.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, hope for a better life dissolves as well-funded Ugandan-led extremist groups force children as young as 6 to work in cobalt mines.

Closer to home, Nevada’s Fort McDermitt Tribe and local ranchers fight to protect a sacred burial site and agricultural lands set to be sacrificed by Lithium Nevada, a mining company, in the coming days.

Meanwhile, in California and other states, politicians such as Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) pat themselves on the back for their “aggressive” environmental stance and boast that their gas-powered vehicle bans are leading “the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”

The Hidden Costs

According to politicians like Newsom and President Joe Biden, electric vehicles (EV) are “zero-emission” because they use lithium-ion batteries—consisting of lithium, cobalt, graphite, and other materials—instead of gas.

Thus, starting in 2035, California will ban gas-powered vehicle sales, while several other states plan to follow suit, citing that as a goal and “critical milestone in our climate fight,” on Twitter.

Additionally, according to a statement from Biden, banning gas-powered vehicles will “save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis.”

John Hadder, director of the Great Basin Resource Watch, disagrees, pointing out to The Epoch Times that “industrial” nations might benefit from the transition to EVs, but it’s at the expense of others.

Kamala Harris charges an electric vehicle
Vice President Kamala Harris charges an electric vehicle in Prince George’s County, Md., on Dec. 13, 2021. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)

“This expansion of [lithium] mining will have immediate consequences for front-line communities that are taking the ‘hit.’”

For example, Copiapó, the capital of Chile’s Atacama region, is the location of one of the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

“We used to have a river before, that now doesn’t exist. There isn’t a drop of water,” Elena Rivera Cardoso, president of the Indigenous Colla community of the Copiapó commune, told the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

She added that all of Chile’s water is disappearing because of the local lithium mine.

“In all of Chile, there are rivers and lakes that have disappeared—all because a company has a lot more right to water than we do as human beings or citizens of Chile.”

unique lithium technology

 

Brine pools from a lithium mine that belongs to U.S.-based Albemarle Corp., are seen on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama desert, Chile, on Aug. 16, 2018. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

In collaboration with Cardosa’s statement, the Institute for Energy Research reports that 65 percent of the area’s limited water resources are consumed by mining activities.

That’s displacing indigenous communities who have called Atacama home for more than 6,000 years, because farmers and ranchers have cracked, dry soil, and no choice but to abandon their ancestral settlements, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Mine Proposed in Northern Nevada

Saying goodbye to an ancestral homeland as a local lithium mine destroys it is something the communities in northern Nevada are fighting to avoid.

“The agricultural communities on either side of the pass are likely to be changed forever,” Hadder told The Epoch Times. “The [Thacker Pass mine] could affect their ability to farm and ranch in the area. The air quality will decrease … and increased water scarcity is likely.”

Epoch Times Photo

 

Thacker Pass. (Lithium Americas)

Hadder pointed out that the Quinn-Production well in Orovada Subarea Hydrographic Basin, which supplies water to Thacker Pass, is already heavily overallocated.

But, lacking water isn’t the only concern locals have with Thacker Pass, he says.

“[The National Congress of American Indians] are deeply concerned that the mine will threaten the community with man-camps and large labor forces,” Hadder said. “The introduction of man-camps near reservations has been shown to correlate strongly with an increase in sexual assaults, domestic violence, and sex trafficking.”

That concern has merit. In 2014, the United Nations found that “extractive industries,” aka mines, led to increased instances of sexual harassment, violence, rape, and assault, due to “man-camps” or workers at the mine.

Epoch Times Photo

 

Tesla Motors Inc. plans to build a 6,500-worker “gigafactory” to mass produce cheaper lithium batteries for its next line of more-affordable electric cars near the center. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics published a study validating the above information. It found a 70 percent increase in violent crime “corresponding to the growth of extractive industry in the areas, with no such increase observed in adjacent counties without extractive industries.”

Experience of Congolese Miners

That’s something the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) know from first-hand experience.

In its 2022 report, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that in 2021, more than 70 percent of the global cobalt production came from the DRC and that southern Congo sits atop an estimated 3.5 million metric tons—almost half—of the world’s known supply.

It’s also one of the world’s poorest countries, according to the nonpartisan Wilson Center, and plagued by humanitarian crises, some of which are directly caused by mining.

Epoch Times Photo

 

A child walks past a truck carrying rocks extracted from a cobalt mine at a copper quarry and cobalt pit in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 23, 2016. (Junior Kannah/AFP via Getty Images)

In December 2021, researchers at Northwestern University conducted an environmental life cycle assessment on extracting raw materials needed for EVs and published their paper in One Earth’s Journal.

They found cobalt mining was associated with increased violence, physical and mental health challenges, substance abuse, and food and water insecurity, among other issues. They further noted that community members lost communal land, farmland, and homes, which miners dug up to extract cobalt.

“You might think of mining as just digging something up,” said Sera L. Young, an associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern University. “But they are not digging on vacant land. Homelands are dug up. People are literally digging holes in their living room floors. The repercussions of mining can touch almost every aspect of life.”

That “every aspect of life” includes children. In the DRC, an estimated 40,000 children are working in the mines under slave labor conditions—some as young as 6. Initially, there was hope that DRC President Felix Tschisekedi would curb the abuses, but now those hopes are dwindling.

Epoch Times Photo

 

People work at the Kalimbi cassiterite artisanal mining site north of Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 30, 2017. (Griff Tapper/AFP via Getty Images)

In her address before the U.S. Congress on July 14, Crisis and Conflict Director for Human Rights Watch Ida Sawyer stated that “child labor and other serious human rights abuses in the mining sector remain widespread, and these challenges only become harder to address amidst rampant corruption.”

“The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan-led armed Islamist group with ties to the Islamic State (ISIS) … as well as their backers among the Congolese political and military elite, control lucrative mineral resources, land, and taxation rackets.”

The Wilson Center reports that there are an estimated 255,000 Congolese miners laboring for cobalt, primarily using their hands.

“As global demand for Congolese mineral resources increases, so do the associated dangers that raise red flags for Congolese miners’ human rights,” it said.

And human rights violations aren’t the only concern with cobalt mining. Wilson Center states: “The extraction of DRC mineral resources includes cutting down trees and building roads, negatively impacting the environment and biodiversity … Cobalt mining operations generate incredibly high carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions and substantial electricity consumption. These emissions contribute to the fact that Africa produces five percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally.”

Epoch Times Photo

 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in Los Angeles, on Sept. 29, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, in California, Newsom extolled his state’s move away from fossil fuels.

“This plan’s yearly targets—35 percent ZEV sales by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035—provide our roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. That’s 915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities.”

Katie Spence

 

Katie covers energy and politics for The Epoch Times. Before starting her career as a journalist, Katie proudly served in the Air Force as an Airborne Operations Technician on JSTARS. She obtained her degree in Analytic Philosophy and a minor in Cognitive Studies from the University of Colorado. Katie’s writing has appeared on CNSNews.com, The Maverick Observer, The Motley Fool, First Quarter Finance, The Cheat Sheet, and Investing.com. Email her at katie.spence@epochtimes.us
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Gavin Newsom’s Dirty Energy Secret

Source: Gavin Newsom’s Dirty Energy Secret – WSJ

Californians narrowly averted rolling blackouts on Tuesday, but the threat looms all week amid an unpleasant but not unusual heat wave. This ought to be a warning about how the government force-fed green energy transition is endangering grid reliability, but Democrats and the media can’t break out of their climate-change conformity to think clearly, or think at all.

Democrats blame climate change for the state’s week-long warnings to conserve power, but California’s climate hasn’t suddenly changed. Triple-digit temperatures aren’t unprecedented even in early September, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s claims. What has drastically changed in recent years is California’s electric generation.

Solar and wind power have rapidly expanded thanks to rich government subsidies along with the state’s renewables mandate. These have made it harder for baseload gas and nuclear generators that run around the clock to make money. Many have shut down, and the result is that the state often lacks sufficient power when the sun goes down.

California’s summer electric generation capacity increased by about 10,700 megawatts (MW) between 2010 and 2020—potentially enough to power eight to 10 million homes. The problem is that gas-fired capacity during this time declined by 4,390 MW and nuclear by 2,150 MW. Solar and wind surged 17,000 MW, but those sources can’t be commanded to run when people need them.

The state must therefore rely on imports from other states in the evenings, especially during heat waves. But these imports are becoming less dependable since California’s neighbors are also losing base-load generators owing to their own renewable buildouts. Arizona lost about half of its summer coal-generating capacity between 2015 and 2020.

During heat waves that span the Southwest like the one this week, California must resort to emergency measures to reduce electricity demand. This includes asking users to turn up their thermostats and providing incentives for industrial businesses to power down. A desalination plant in Carlsbad cut water production by about 20% earlier this week to free up power for homes. Not what the state needs during a drought.

The climate left blames drought for causing a reduction in the state’s hydropower, but why didn’t lawmakers and grid managers prepare for such a scenario? Drought conditions aren’t uncommon in the state. The truth is that politicians put too much faith in utility-scale batteries to save the day, but these are expensive and have been hard to scale.

Irony of ironies, the state has installed temporary gas-fired generators to run during grid emergencies. In other words, the state that is working so hard to banish fossil fuels has become more dependent on them. Los Angeles’s municipal utility is generating nearly 30% of its electricity from coal, some of which is being shared with the rest of the state. Call it Gavin Newsom’s dirty little climate secret.

Meantime, power shortages are causing prices to spike in the Golden State as they are in Europe. Electricity prices in California’s wholesale market surged Tuesday evening to about $1,700 per MWh compared to the normal $100 and $67 a year ago. All of this explains why residential electric rates in California have risen by 50% in the past two years—three times more than they have nationwide.

Californians paid on average about 29 cents per kilowatt hour in June, by far the most in the continental U.S. and twice as much as in neighboring states. Rates are only going higher. Green-energy subsidies don’t make electricity cheaper. They create market distortions that threaten the grid and raise prices.

But what starts in California rarely stays in California. Americans everywhere will soon be soaked with higher prices for power that is becoming less reliable. Rhode Island Energy this summer asked regulators to more than double current electric rates for this winter. Falling gasoline prices for many Americans could be fully offset by rising electricity costs.

The grid problems that Californians are enduring will grow and spread as supersized green-energy subsidies and mandates spread their harmful incentives throughput the U.S. economy in coming years. The culprit is the left’s climate policies, not climate change.

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The False ‘Green Jobs’ Promise – WSJ

Source: The False ‘Green Jobs’ Promise – WSJ

‘Folks, when I think about climate change—and I’ve been saying this for three years—I think jobs,” President Biden said Wednesday. Then why is Ford Motor Co. planning to lay off thousands of workers to fund its government-mandated electric vehicles?

Bloomberg broke the news Wednesday that the Detroit auto maker is preparing to slash as many as 8,000 jobs to boost the company’s profits to finance its EVs that are struggling to make money. Ford plans to spend $50 billion to make two million EVs annually by 2026, which is a steep ramp-up from the 27,140 it sold last year.

That $50 billion has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is its internal-combustion engine vehicles, which CEO Jim Farley said in March need “to be more profitable to fund this.” That means job cuts, and perhaps price increases too.

It’s not unusual for businesses to use profits from one division to finance investments that aren’t expected to pay off for many years. New technologies can generate labor efficiencies. The United Auto Workers union estimates that increasing EV manufacturing could result in the loss of 35,000 union jobs because it requires fewer parts.

The problem is that government climate mandates are driving and distorting investment decisions. Asked about the job cuts on Thursday, a Ford EV executive said “to move fast in this space, smaller is better,” adding that “we need to scale EVs quickly in the US, and that is one of the aspirations in the Administration.”

The Biden Administration recently finalized new greenhouse-gas emission standards that are a de facto EV mandate. Traditional auto makers will have no choice but to churn out more EVs or buy credits from EV makers such as Tesla and Rivian. California has banned the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, and other states are following.

Auto makers are spending heavily on advertising to convince Americans to buy EVs that governments are forcing them to produce and are pricing them to move. Ford’s base model Lightning F-150 pickup costs $39,974, a mere $10,000 more than its gas-powered version.

But battery material costs are surging, driving up EV manufacturing costs. Ford said Thursday it will begin using cheaper but much less powerful lithium-iron phosphate battery packs for its Mustang Mach-E and Lightning. It plans to import the batteries from—you guessed it—China, at least until battery factories in North America can produce at scale.

We wish Ford luck. But when government steers investment, consumers and workers invariably bear the cost. Let’s hope taxpayers won’t have to bail out auto makers if their government-driven EV investments crash and burn.

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BlackRock Is a ‘Climate Cartel’: Sen. Tom Cotton

Source: BlackRock Is a ‘Climate Cartel’: Sen. Tom Cotton – American Faith

“One reason you don’t see that increase production [of gas] is because oil and gas companies are being targeted by this climate cartel,” said Cotton.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) made an appearance on CNBC to discuss his letter to the globalist investment firm BlackRock and its policies regarding ESG.
  • ESG is a series of standards that evaluates a company’s behavior within the criterion of “Environment, Social, and Governance” (ESG) that allows a corporation to determine a potential investment in that company.
  • The “climate action partnership” between corporations and fuel companies, Cotton described, “[suppresses] investment in the fossil fuel industry in America,” contributing to the price of gas despite its high demand.
  • “It’s not simply that they’re trying to invest in so-called ‘green technology,’” Senator Cotton said in the interview, “it’s that they are trying to withhold capital, trying to deny access to the equity and the debt markets to these fossil fuel companies.”
TOM COTTON’S LETTER:
  • Senator Cotton stated in his letter that “BlackRock is an ‘investor participant’ in Climate Action 100+ (‘CA100+’), ‘an investor-led initiative’ to pressure ‘the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters [to] take necessary action on climate change’ like, for example, pressuring oil companies to drill for less oil.”
  • These actions potentially violate antitrust laws by “[restricting] the supply of fossil fuels and [imposing] various other unlawful restraints on trade” for the sake of supposed climate activism.
  • Read the full letter here:
BACKGROUND:
  • BlackRock advocates for stakeholder capitalism, where corporate decisions are catered toward the stakeholders in a company, such as other businesses and governments, and has been pushed by WEF founder Klaus Schwab for its pro-global-economy stance.
  • BlackRock is also a member of the Climate Finance Partnership for energy transitioning, a staunch leftist agenda that seeks to lower carbon emissions and develop climate-safe infrastructure, as reported by American Faith.
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