In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden promoted electric vehicles (EVs), trumpeting his plans to establish “a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.” In so doing, Biden is unwittingly supporting the worst humanitarian abuses in the world. This is because of the way in which the materials used in manufacturing the batteries that power today’s EVs are obtained.
To obtain a reasonable amount of power per pound of battery weight, EV manufacturers generally use various forms of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, so named because the battery’s positive electrode, called the cathode, is largely made up of the highly reactive metal lithium (Li). To keep the cathode stable when a battery is not in use, the lithium is combined in a metal oxide matrix, with different manufacturers using different combinations of metals.
Most EV manufacturers combine lithium with nickel, cobalt and manganese to create a Li-Ni-Mn-Co oxide matrix to form the cathode. Tesla substitutes aluminum (Al) for the manganese, yielding a Li-Ni-Co-Al oxide matrix for the cathode on their batteries. Tesla maintains that their formulae is more cost-effective as less cobalt is required.
Arizona State University (ASU) debuted a new undergraduate degree geared toward social justice activism, called community development. The course description describes education on the basics of activism, citing concepts like diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, equity, and social and environmental justice. If students enjoy studying community development, they may also earn a graduate degree in it.
“The BA program in community development equips students with tools to collaborate with, empower and educate diverse community constituents by drawing on grassroots and inclusive frameworks such as sustainable development, social and environmental justice, participatory democracy, social and economic equity and social accounting,” reads the course description.
New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland — a Native American through her mother’s lineage — is the newest addition to Biden’s identity politics bingo card. Haaland was tapped for Secretary of the Interior, a position with control over conservation and oil and gas drilling on public lands, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a swath of other agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Education.
Environmentalists were titillated to see a Native American nominated to take charge of land conservation and Native affairs, especially after President Trump authorized oil drilling, pipelines, and the border wall on land considered by some Native activists to be sacred.