New Study Says EV Conversion Will Hike Lithium Demand and Increased Mining Will Cause Wider Environmental Damage
New Study Says EV Conversion Will Hike Lithium Demand and Increased Mining Will Cause Wider Environmental Damage

By Mark Tapscott and Madalina Vasiliu

Converting America’s fleet of privately owned cars and trucks from internal combustion gasoline and diesel-fueled engines to Electric Vehicles (EVs) will cause critical shortages of Lithium—a must-have for batteries—and prompt more environmental damage due to increased mining, according to a new report.

Avoiding the lithium shortages and dramatically increased environmental demand will require all but eliminating privately owned vehicles, concentrating the U.S. population in big cities, requiring the use of smaller batteries and making Americans rely on public transportation, the report claims.

“A crucial aspect of electrified transportation is new demand for metals, and specifically the most non-replaceable metal for EV batteries—lithium,” said the report produced by a team of scholars from Providence College and the University of California at Davis, working in conjunction with researchers associated with the Climate and Community Project.

“If today’s demand for EVs is projected to 2050, the lithium requirements of the United States’ EV market alone 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,” it added.

Could a lithium shortage result in eliminating privately owned vehicles in favor of public transportation? (Robert Linder/

The Climate and Community Project is an environmental advocacy group that describes itself as “fiscally supported by the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.”

The San Francisco-based Tides Center is an extension of the The Tides Foundation, which originated the use of non-profits to give liberal donors who don’t wish to be publicly identified with projects they help fund an anonymous, or “dark money” means of doing so.

“Large-scale mining entails social and environmental harm, in many cases irreversibly damaging landscapes without the consent of affected communities. As societies undertake the urgent and transformative task of building new, zero-emissions energy systems, some level of mining is necessary,” the report said.

“But the volume of extraction is not a given. Neither is where mining takes place, who bears the social and environmental burdens, or how mining is governed?”

The solution to enable the conversion to an electric-powered transportation system, according to the report, is in “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 U.S. 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 new report comes as President Joe Biden is pushing forward with his 2021 executive order mandating that at least half of all cars and trucks sold in the United States by 2030 be EVs. Biden’s order requires building 500,000 electric charging stations across to country to replace gasoline and diesel service stations.

The Biden program also provides massive new spending like the recently announced $2 billion guaranteed loan by the Department of Energy to EV battery maker Redwood Materials. Biden also wants to expand federal tax credits for EVs.

Dr. Rich McCormick prevailed in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Republican runoff on June 21. (Courtesy of Dr. Rich McCormick for Congress).

The Epoch Times asked multiple Democrats on the House Science, Space and Technology (SST) and Energy and Commerce (E&C) committees for comment on the report’s projection of spiraling demand for lithium and increased environmental damage caused by mining for the precious element, but none responded.

Democrat strategist David Carlucci, however, told The Epoch Times he doesn’t think Biden should rework his 2030 EV mandate as a result of the study.

“Taking into account the chance of innovation of smaller batteries, our increased production in lithium is critical before rethinking the plan. President Biden has prioritized green alternatives, and investing over $3 billion into a domestic lithium supply chain is critical to his mission,” Carlucci said.

“Yes, there will be hurdles to this goal but that does not mean it cannot happen. The president should not think about reworking his 2030 plan until it is clear whether production will increase by then. This is a booming industry with endless possibilities for the prosperity and sustainability of our country,” he continued.

Carlucci also questioned the likelihood of private transportation having to be limited or eliminated.

“Although this report suggests limiting or outright banning transportation, I do not believe that this is a feasible or realistic action the government will take. Instead, the federal government will most likely invest more in lithium production and consciously keep watch of the 2030 goals,” he said.

But energy industry advocates and congressional Republicans interviewed by The Epoch Times said the study provides solid grounds for limiting or eliminating Biden’s EV mandate all-together.

“This has always been the agenda, in the same way they want to ban gas stoves,” said Daniel Kish, senior vice president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“The American Dream is under attack and the elites and central planners are using climate change and energy as the means to make us all ride on the back of the bus. What is most extraordinary is that they are now admitting it.”

Kish also pointed to an IER report on growing restiveness and opposition at the state level to an EV conversion.

Six Wyoming state legislators have introduced a measure to ban EVs from throughout the state by 2035.

The IER report also pointed out that a recent study produced for Canada’s Alberta Province government projected severe and widespread economic damage resulting from an EV conversion, including the loss of 13.5 percent of all jobs in multiple sectors.

House Republicans contend the study should put the brakes on the Biden mandate, and they suggested consumer choice driving market innovation will result in a better result.

Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), a member of the SST panel, told The Epoch Times “the idea that the president should force Americans to use one mode of transportation instead of another was always crazy and unconstitutional, but never underestimate the desire of the radical Left to control our lives through government intervention.

“Real progress toward efficient and cleaner technology will come from private-sector innovation, not mandates.”

Similarly, Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) said, “President Biden’s energy ‘transition’ to electric vehicles by 2030 will ultimately end up costing Americans even more and increase our dependency on China.

“Instead of forcing EVs on Americans, the government should always let the market and consumer choice drive the adoption of EVs. The last thing the government should be doing is taking away people’s mobility and livelihoods by limiting options for affordable and reliable vehicles.”

Weber is a member of both the SST and E&C committees.

U.S. House candidate Stephanie Bice talks to the media at the Edmond Conference Center in Edmond, Okla., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Garett Fisbeck/AP Photo)

Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), a member of SST, told The Epoch Times that lithium is not the only mineral that presents huge obstacles for an EV conversion.

“Biden’s plan to force half of all new vehicles to be EVs is massive government overreach and should never have been implemented in the first place. We’ve known for a while that we don’t have the mineral capacity to make this feasible,” Bice explained.

“In addition to lithium shortages, we are also running into issues with cobalt and nickel, too, which are essential for electric vehicle battery production. When we don’t address these issues, businesses face adverse impacts.

“We are also forced to rely on corrupt adversaries, such as China, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of global EV battery production capacity,” she added.

Bice also sees problems resulting from an EV conversion in related fields.

“Due to mineral constraints, it would be a terrible decision to pick winners and losers and get rid of internal combustion engines in the first place. Far too often, this administration seeks to solve problems such as these, by increasing government spending.

“This doesn’t encourage U.S. innovation over the long term, solve recent restrictive permitting issues, or address essential mining projects which are being held up because of sue and settle cases,” she said.

“We need to increase our advanced recycling capabilities through research and development, and mining of these critical minerals, increase domestic refining technologies and operations, and reduce red tape that will inhibit the speed and availability of access to these minerals,” Bice said.

Another SST Republican, Rep. Scott Franklin of Florida, said the Biden mandate is unachievable and “anti-science” in its conception.

“Dismantling the nation’s current fossil fuel-based energy industry while simultaneously going ‘all in’ on green initiatives that are demonstrably unachievable in the proposed timeframes suggests either an administration that is hopelessly out of touch with reality, or worse, scarily embracing a scheme to control individuals’ choices regarding private transportation,” Franklin told The Epoch Times.

“What they propose is factually anti-science, which is ironic, considering their past demands to ‘follow the science.’ It’s unrealistic, unachievable and a slap in the face to real science,” Franklin said.

Another Georgia Republican, Rep. Mike Collins, told The Epoch Times, the study illustrates a basic obstacle in the way of EV conversion.

“The left can’t have it both ways. It takes coal mining to produce electricity and hard-rock mining to obtain lithium for batteries, both of which the Biden administration makes difficult.

“His plan to force expensive electric vehicles on Americans will only drive-up transportation costs and make it harder for working families to make ends meet.

“As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I will fight against America-last energy policies that dictate to Americans what kind of energy they can consume and how they can travel,” Collins said.

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...