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The Forum > General Discussion > Your batteries and childlabour

Your batteries and childlabour

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Some or all of the cobalt used in your little batteries comes from child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and also in the big batteries of electric cars.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cobalt-children-mining-democratic-republic-congo-cbs-news-investigation/
http://www.ft.com/content/c6909812-9ce4-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb
(these are dated but there are more recent items available)

Are those promoting E-Cars happy with the ethics of profiting from child labour or don't they want to know about it?

It seems that E-Car promoters never mention this slight ethical problem.
Posted by Is Mise, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 2:43:13 PM
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'Ethics' is one of those "old fashioned" words to progressives, wealth-seekers and liars about the necessity for hugely expensive electric cars.

And, as there is nothing 'democratic' about the Democratic Republic of Congo any more than the People's Republic of China is anything to do with the people.

It's a shocking abuse of children, Is Mise, but there's nothing to be done about it. Hey. We can't even get our own government to listen to us.
Posted by ttbn, Thursday, 18 February 2021 10:37:59 AM
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//Are those promoting E-Cars happy with the ethics of profiting from child labour or don't they want to know about it?
It seems that E-Car promoters never mention this slight ethical problem.

Well Tesla is certainly aware of it- awhile ago a bunch of tech companies (apple, google, etc.) including Tesla found themselves in a court case brought on by a human rights group about this very issue.

Telsa has stated that they are going to transition away from using cobalt in its batteries. I believe Telsa's announcement of this is somewhere in this presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6T9xIeZTds

[PS: it is not only because of the human rights issues surrounding cobalt that EV manufacturers are moving to cobalt free, but also because cobalt is very expensive]
Posted by thinkabit, Thursday, 18 February 2021 10:44:45 AM
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It seems that E-Car promoters never mention this slight ethical problem.
Is Mise,
You should know better than placing Greens in the same basket as ethics !
I have drawn attention to the highly polluting production of so-called 'Green Energy' quite a number of times but none of these 'Eco' warriors ever indulge in conversation.
Posted by individual, Thursday, 18 February 2021 2:05:06 PM
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Greens' Policy,

"THE GREENS WILL:
• End the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, ensuring 100% of all new
vehicles sales are electric or zero emission
• Reduce the cost of an electric vehicle by up to 20% to make them more affordable
• Require the major car manufacturers to sell a set percentage of EVs each year
• Spend $150 million on fast charging infrastructure, ensuring you can get where
you need with an EV
• Legislate tough vehicle pollution standards"
http://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/Greens%202019%20Policy%20Platform%20-%20Electric%20Vehicles.pdf

"Metals such as lithium and cobalt provide examples of the awkward issues that lie ahead, said Herrington. Both elements are needed to make lightweight rechargeable batteries for electric cars and for storing power from wind and solar plants. Their production is likely to increase significantly over the next decade – and that could cause serious ecological problems.

In the case of cobalt, 60% of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where large numbers of unregulated mines use children as young as seven as miners. There they breathe in cobalt-laden dust that can cause fatal lung ailments while working tunnels that are liable to collapse."
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/03/child-labour-toxic-leaks-the-price-we-could-pay-for-a-greener-future

Searched through the Greens' policy for something on child labour but couldn't find anything; perhaps one of our Greens could point the way?
Posted by Is Mise, Friday, 19 February 2021 2:31:20 PM
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The only thing green about the Greens is the area behind their ears !
Posted by individual, Saturday, 20 February 2021 11:37:42 AM
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" Spend $150 million on fast charging infrastructure, ensuring you can get where you need with an EV"

That's interesting, particularly if your battery goes flat whilst fencing in the back paddock on a big station and it's ten miles to the homestead; of course, you could ring the boss and get a charged up vehicle to come and tow you home, that is if the phone works.
Posted by Is Mise, Monday, 22 February 2021 11:11:15 AM
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Well Is Mise in China if you own a EV and you run out of energy you just call the NIO road side assist service. And they come out with a van (an NIO EV van no less) with a great big battery on it that they recharge your car with-

http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-nio-mobile-charging-services-china
Posted by thinkabit, Monday, 22 February 2021 11:28:02 AM
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thinkabit,

Very interesting but not much use down in the back paddock.

Take Rawlinda Station,

"The more than one million hectare property, which includes a portion of the Nullarbor Plain, is part of the Jumbuck Pastoral company and...It can be up to 100 kilometres to get them [sheep] to the shearing shed and there’s always a few stragglers.”

That's a big place I don't see the Greens putting charging stations around there.
Posted by Is Mise, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 10:55:59 AM
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Rawlinna Station, being the largest sheep station in the world, is hardly typical example is it? But besides that for many (most?) remote stations the greens don't need to install recharge facilities because they would already have them-- it's called solar power.

Indeed, once the upcoming 4wd ute/truck models (eg: Tesla Cybertruck) become common and cheaper I can see managers of remote stations, if they do lots of kms/yr, giving them a very keen eye. Because fuel in the outback is extremely expensive but if you generate your own electricity by wind/solar already then it costs nothing (fuel wise) to run an electric vehicle. In addition EV's motor/drive-trains are far simpler than an ICE's - there is way less maintenance and greater reliability.

Also, another way your example is a bit of misdirection is because it is going to take about the same amount of time and bother to get help whether your run out of petrol/diesel or charge 10miles from home- because you still need to walk back 10miles which will take you 3+ hours which is significantly longer than it takes to tow a car 10 miles.

But side all this and more importantly: anyone who runs out of fuel in a place like that should immediately be removed and sent to the city for their own safety. Running out fuel (same with water) is a cardinal sin in the outback. In general you should ALWAYS have enough fuel to get to the next refueling spot AND the next place of supplies after that in case the first doesn't have any.

-- continued below --
Posted by thinkabit, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 9:08:56 AM
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-- from above --

I've actually seen this happen where people have provisioned only to get to the next supply and not the one after:
A few years ago I drove up from Perth to Port Headland via the Great Northern Highway and one of the roadhouses didn't have any diesel fuel due to an equipment failure. At the roadhouse there was some idiot on a family holiday in his brand new monster 4wd asking people stopping by if they have any spare fuel because he didn't have enough to get to the next stop. I was driving a petrol car so I was of no use to him. But I couldn't but help wonder about the sorts of trouble a moron like that could get into if they ever ventured to take their shiny new car off the bitumen.

[PS: I should remark that I'm not interested in EV's due to environmental concerns. The greens don't endear themselves to me at all. Rather I'm a rather well-off investor, and I'm always following technology and trends. It is obvious to anyone who bothers to look that we are about to undergo a massive change from ICE to EV over the next decade. And it has little to do with environmental drivers but everything to do the fact that new EV's are very soon (ie: 2-4years) going to be cheaper over the lifetime of the car than ICE cars for most people in developed countries.]
Posted by thinkabit, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 9:13:43 AM
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Interesting thread Is Mise- To me this is just another indicator that there are "too many" people in the world- relying on "too few" scarce resources- and creating "too much" damage. Plato's Republic talks about this- and we still haven't learned.

One way of addressing the issue is by finding alternatives to these scarce resources but this doesn't address the core problem.

We have made a business deal with The Congo I suppose and we need to be aware of their sovereignty. We should be careful about punishing a nation for their internal policies- this is perhaps another paradox of the human condition. This is especially difficult in the context of the affected children in this case and our views of how children should be treated within our society. Sometimes we might need to deny ourselves these resources. Lobbying other nations to boycott The Congo is perhaps crossing a line of sorts. Perhaps soft power is better.
Posted by Canem Malum, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 12:13:14 PM
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