In 2021, global sales of electric vehicles more than doubled. This year, automakers are projected to make another huge gain, driven by soaring gas prices and new models with increased range. Getting away from gas-powered vehicles is essential to transition to a clean energy economy. But it’s not all good news on the clean energy front. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global supply chains, and roiled markets for nickel and other commodities used for renewables and batteries.

The supply chain disruption has prompted renewed calls for US energy independence.    Morgan Bazilian, Director of the Payne Institute for Public Policy and Professor at the Colorado School of Mines, believes that’s the wrong goal:

“When we look at the energy markets of today and especially in light of all of the impacts that a war by Russia and Ukraine can have on energy markets, we see the tentacles and the connections of energy all over the world in supply chains and in markets and in governance. And so, to notionally aspire that the United States would be somehow independent of this connected system is the wrong goal. And the right goal [is that] there is some definition of energy security.”

The supply chain isn’t the only concern. The very practice of mining and processing raw materials is a dirty business. Payal Sampat, Mining Program Director at Earthworks, comments, “Metals mining is the leading industrial polluter in this country. And that is by the environmental protection agency’s reports from mining companies directly. And so, this is an industry that has a significant footprint and that needs to be reined in and dramatically reduced no matter where it’s occurring.”

Read more and listen to the discussion (i hour) at Climate One.

April 8, 2022


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