Looking at the Energy Transition through the Lithium Lens: The Climate Minute Lithium Series

As heat waves and floods assault us, humans are in the midst of a great societal energy transition. We must find ways to decarbonize. The question is no longer if, but rather how, to build the clean energy system we need. The coming changes are so broad that they can be hard to comprehend. It is helpful to narrow the discussion. In this series of podcasts, we study the big question of "how" to build a new future thru the lens of a specific issue: the production and use of lithium. Listen in as we dip our toes into the oceans of questions about how to build a just energy transition.

Batteries are essential to practical renewable energy systems, as well as the electric vehicles so central to our thinking about the economy. The atomic element lithium is essential to the manufacture of batteries. As demand for lithium skyrockets in the wake of increased EV production, we must ask "where is that lithium coming from?" Raw lithium is most often found near marginalized communities, be it the Atacama Desert in South America or near indigenous lands in Nevada. The current methods of mining lithium are extremely damaging to land and communities that surround the resource. The moral question is this: does the supposed benefit of 'an EV in every garage" outweigh the clear damage done by lithium mining? Are sacrifice zones acceptable so that we can drive EVs? Or should we phrase the question more gently and ask how we can build a green future and preserve local communities.

In this series of podcasts we will talk to several experts:

  • Professor Thea Riofrancos of Providence College tells us about the 'critical junction' at which our society stands. Our decision now will determine the future.
  • Benjamin Hitchcock Auciello of Earthworks discusses the nature of lithium mining and the opportunities for recycling.
  • Author Max Wilbert, currently encamped at Thacker Pass, asks if an EV is a right or a privilege.
  • Professor Barry Gan of Saint Bonaventure University helps us understand how Gandhi's ideas on non-violence can help us manage the 'ends vs means' questions.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre 

Here is a full bibliography

Overview

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/lithium-batteries-environment-impact

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/14/electric-cost-lithium-mining-decarbonasation-salt-flats-chile

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/02/climate/electric-vehicles-environment.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-delusion-of-infinite-economic-growth1/

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/less-driving-better-lives

https://amp.economist.com/briefing/2021/06/12/the-bottlenecks-which-could-constrain-emission-cuts?

Vision of EJ

https://climatejusticealliance.org/just-transition/

https://climatejusticealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/CJA_JustTransition_highres.pdf

https://naacp.org/resources/nuts-bolts-and-pitfalls-carbon-pricing-equity-based-primer-paying-pollute

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/what-comes-after-extractivism

https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/06/09/stop-calling-green-energy-clean/

https://globaldialogue.isa-sociology.org/the-fight-for-climate-justice-and-the-biden-harris-administration/

Recycling (IRMA)

https://www.wired.com/story/the-race-to-crack-battery-recycling-before-its-too-late/

https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2021/pathways-to-achieve-new-circular-vision-for-lithium-ion-batteries.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/technology/personaltech/right-to-repair-iphones-android.html

https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/exclusive-bidens-electric-vehicle-plan-includes-battery-recycling-push-2021-06-04/

https://slate.com/technology/2021/05/in-the-land-of-broken-things-response-right-to-repair.amp?__twitter_impression=true

https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/02/tesla-cofounder-jb-straubel-the-largest-lithium-mine-could-be-in-the-junk-drawers-of-america/

https://www.everledger.io/blockchain-battery-recycling-on-track-for-a-circular-economy/

https://grist.org/technology/should-customers-be-able-to-repair-their-devices-this-federal-agency-says-yes

https://grist.org/technology/the-plan-to-turn-coal-country-into-a-rare-earth-powerhouse/

https://www.earthworks.org/publications/recycle-dont-mine/

https://www.vice.com/en/article/4av7pd/biden-wants-to-give-us-the-right-to-repair-now-what

Mining

https://www.ecowatch.com/electrical-cars-seafloor-mining-2651006649.html

https://www.earthworks.org/publications/just-minerals/

https://www.earthworks.org/publications/recharge-responsibly/

https://finfeed.com/features/explainer-overview-direct-lithium-extraction-dle-geothermal-brines/

https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/geothermal-lithium-its-extraction-and-impact-on-clean-energy/?amp=1

https://www.autoblog.com/2021/05/01/germany-lithium-river-mining/

https://www.carscoops.com/2021/05/rhine-river-area-with-enough-lithium-for-400-million-evs-could-reduce-germanys-dependence-on-imports/

https://finance.yahoo.com/video/lithium-americas-ceo-outlook-u-204802479.html

https://www.eureporter.co/world/serbia/2021/04/12/rio-tintos-gung-ho-mining-exploration-on-the-border-of-the-european-union-should-worry-us-all

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.4745

https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/07/20200731-jadar.html

https://www.marketviews.com/latam/now-is-a-great-time-to-invest-in-latin-american-mining

https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/the-rush-for-white-gold

https://euobserver.com/opinion/151965

Local protests

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/CHILE-LITHIUM/010080VB1MH/index.html

https://grist.org/climate/the-west-has-a-new-front-in-the-war-over-electric-cars/

https://www.ktvn.com/story/43576810/activists-camp-at-thacker-pass-to-prevent-lithium-mine-from-opening

https://www.protectthackerpass.org/contact-us/

https://www.hcn.org/issues/53.7/indigenous-affairs-mining-for-lithium-at-a-cost-to-indigenous-religions

https://www.nevadacurrent.com/blog/judge-gives-feds-30-days-to-decide-if-wildflower-is-endangered/

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/video/lithium-affecting-environment-77210144

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210510-perus-urgent-search-for-slow-water

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/solar-gone-wrong

Lithium physics

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hot-thought/201801/why-is-lithium-good-both-batteries-and-bipolar-disorder

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_battery

Battery applications

https://www.volts.wtf/p/battery-week-everything-in-one-place

Long duration

https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1hnf81s9sxyu5l/LDES%20Article%20Synthesis.pdf?dl=0

https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/long-duration-storage-roundup-news-players-and-technology/

Politics/EV/Supply chain

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/547561-biden-praises-settlement-in-dispute-between-electric-vehicle-battery-makers

https://news.mit.edu/2021/lithium-ion-battery-costs-0323

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/15/985347046/as-auto-industry-goes-electric-can-it-avoid-a-battery-bottleneck

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/31/business/biden-electric-vehicles-infrastructure.html

https://www.energy-storage.news/news/biden-executive-order-will-put-battery-materials-at-heart-of-us-climate-tec

https://www.benchmarkminerals.com/membership/how-a-president-biden-could-boost-the-usas-lithium-ion-supply-chain/

https://www.tdworld.com/utility-business/article/21156218/biden-orders-review-of-energy-ev-battery-supply-chains

https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021

https://ourworldindata.org/battery-price-decline

Articles on gandhian environmentalism

https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/staff/barry-gan/

https://www.mkgandhi.org/g_relevance/chap28.htm

https://reallifemag.com/appropriate-measures/

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/columnists/011218/dividing-lines-of-science-gandhi-and-climate-change.html

https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/news/gandhi-at-150-what-the-mahatmas-legacy-means-for-environmental-challenges-today/

https://www.labor4sustainability.org/jtlp-2021

https://mettacenter.org/daily-metta/means-ends-daily-metta/

https://southasiamonitor.org/spotlight/understanding-mahatma-gandhis-philosophy-ends-and-means

https://www.mkgandhi.org/ebks/environment.pdf

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  • Edward McIntyre
    published this page in Blog & Podcast 2021-07-18 15:55:59 -0400

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