this post was submitted on 20 May 2024
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[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

For instance, this includes minerals for battery and other components to produce EVs and wind turbines – such as iron, lithium, and zinc

I found nothing within the IEA's announcement that indicates a shortage of those three elements. Iron is like the fourth most abundant thing on the planet.

In fact, this story literally reports this whole thing all wrong. It's not that there's a shortage, it's that the demand for renewables is vastly larger than what we're mining for. Which "duh" we knew this already. The thing this report does is quantify it.

That said, the "human rights abuses" isn't the IEA report. That comes from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).

Specifically, the BHRRC has tracked these for seven key minerals: bauxite, cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, nickel and zinc. Companies and countries need these for renewable energy technology, and electrification of transport.

These aren't just limited to the renewable industry. Copper specifically, you've got a lot of it in your walls and in the device that you are reading this comment on. We have always had issues with copper and it's whack-a-mole for solutions to this. I'm not dismissing BHRRC's claim here, it's completely valid, but it's valid if we do or do not do renewables. Either way, we still have to tackle this problem. EVs or not.

Of course, some companies were particularly complicit. Notably, BHRRC found that ten companies were associated with more than 50% of all allegations tracked since 2010

And these are the usual suspects who routinely look the other way in human right's abuses. China, Mexico, Canada, and Switzerland this is the list of folks who drive a lot of the human rights abuses, it's how it has been for quite some time now. That's not to be dismissive to the other folks out there (because I know everyone is just biting to blame the United States somehow) but these four are usually getting their hand smacked. Now to be fair, it's really only China and Switzerland that usually does not care one way or the other. Canada and Mexico are just the folks the US convinced to take the fall for their particular appetite.

For example, Tanzania is extracting manganese and graphite. However, he pointed out that it is producing none of the higher-value green tech items like electric cars or batteries that need these minerals

Third Congo war incoming. But yeah, seriously, imperialism might have officially ended after World War II, but western nations routinely do this kind of economic fuckening, because "hey at least they get to self-govern". It's what first world nations tell themselves to sleep better for what they do.

Avan also highlighted the IEA’s advice that companies and countries should shift emphasis to mineral recycling to meet the growing demand.

This really should have happened yesterday. But if they would do something today, that would actually be proactive about the situation. Of course, many first world nations when they see a problem respond with "come back when it's a catastrophe."

OVERALL This article is attempting to highlight that recycling is a very doable thing if governments actually invested in the infrastructure to do so and that if we actually recycled things, we could literally save ⅓ the overall cost for renewables. It's just long term economic sense to recycle. But of course, that's not short term economic sense. And so with shortages to meet demand on the horizon, new production is going to be demanded and that will in turn cause human rights violations.

They really worded the whole thing oddly and used the word shortage, like we're running out, when they meant shortage as in "we can't keep up without new production". They got the right idea here, I just maybe would have worded all of it a bit differently.