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Research: Achieving Zero Emissions with More Mobility and Less Mining

441 days ago

2 minutes

Source: Climate + Community

Electrified transportation demands lithium in record-high quantities, prompting expanded mining activities and environmental degradation. New research explores if it is possible to limit this sequence of events.

A new report from T. Riofrancos, et al., in collaboration with the Climate + Community Project and the University of California, Davis explores the impact of increased lithium mining in relation to increased electric vehicle use.

“A crucial aspect of electrified transportation is new demand for metals, and specifically the most non-replaceable metal for EV batteries – lithium. If today’s demand for EVs is projected to 2050, the lithium requirements of the US EV market alone in 2050 would require triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market. This boom in demand would be met by the expansion of mining. 

“This report finds that the United States can achieve zero emissions transportation while limiting the amount of lithium mining necessary by reducing the car dependence of the transportation system, decreasing the size of electric vehicle batteries, and maximizing lithium recycling. Reordering the US transportation system through policy and spending shifts to prioritize public and active transit while reducing car dependency can also ensure transit equity, protect ecosystems, respect Indigenous rights, and meet the demands of global justice.”

The recently released report is an incredible technical insight into one of the core arguments against the implementation of electrified transportation. Of course, it is encouraging to see LEVs, which contain significantly smaller batteries, cited as a key tool for combating the issue of high lithium demand. Access the full report, here.

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