Batteries – plundering scarce resources


Sir, – I cannot be the only one to see the irony in the concern within the EU over the shortage of raw materials to make batteries and renewable energy equipment as it tries to become climate neutral by 2050 (“EU sounds alarm on critical raw materials shortages”, News, September 1st).

Surely there is more to the green agenda than driving electric vehicles and breathing clean air in developed countries at the expense of the environments of the countries from which these minerals are extracted and the well-being of the peoples that inhabit them.

Described as “critical raw materials”, their scarcity and difficulty in extraction means that reliance on them is not sustainable. For example, Chile is the second-largest producer of lithium in the world after Australia, and there is evidence that its extraction is damaging local ecosystems and natural water supplies. The extraction of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 per cent of it mined by children and most of it exported for processing elsewhere, is another huge indictment of the developed world’s heedless exploitation of less well-off countries, easily ignored as we focus on maintaining our own standards of living while moving away from dependence on fossil fuels.

Climate change and its repercussions are global issues.

Putting me in an electric car while plundering scarce resources elsewhere is neither ethical nor sustainable. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.