Environmental Impacts of Electric Vehicles Must Be Addressed

The stark realities of electric vehicle (EV) production must be weighed against the short-term financial benefits to investing in PEVs, particularly as governments develop incentives for them.

Long-term environmental and social impacts need to be addressed, as all-electric vehicles are natural resource-intensive, exacerbate social injustices, and human rights activists are raising flags around the exploitation that is associated with battery production. Lithium, cobalt, and nickel are energy-intensive to mine, and the countries where these metals are harvested do not necessarily observe environmental safeguards. Cobalt mining in the Republic of the Congo, the country with the largest proven reserves of cobalt, has been linked to child labor deaths, and cobalt in short supply - insufficient to meet the demand for replacing internal combustion engine vehicles. A transfer to EVs means hydrocarbon use would decrease, but electricity loads would increase as well. In Pacific Island Countries, this often means increased grid supply from diesel generation until renewable energy targets are also met. 

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