Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Electric cars and child slavery

It's all about Cobalt.

This is a key element in the manufacture of the batteries needed for electric cars and solar/wind farms.  It's mined in the Congo, and like "blood diamonds" the locals use child slaves to get it:
When Sky News investigated the Katanga mines it found Dorsen, working near a little girl called Monica, who was four, on a day of relentless rainfall. 
Dorsen was hauling heavy sacks of rocks from the mine surface to a growing stack 60ft away. A full sack was lifted on to Dorsen’s head and he staggered across to the stack. A brutish overseer stood over him, shouting and raising his hand to threaten a beating if he spilt any.

The article is pretty sickening, but includes this tidbit:
The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).
The wages of "green" energy: exploitation of 4 year olds.

And subsidies.  Elon Musk has pulled down $5B in government subsidies.  That's our money, going to fuel what's happening in Congo.


matism said...

Musk is not alone. You can count on the same thing being true for Gates and Zuckerberg and Bezos and Schmidt and all the rest of the tech crowd. They own the right politicians, and get what they want when they want it. Thank God that at least the EU dares to treat some of them appropriately!

Old NFO said...

Agree with Matism, and child labor IS endemic throughout the third and a lot of second world countries...

matism said...

Well actually, Old NFO, I would argue that those are fourth-world and third-world countries. As far as I am concerned, effectively every Central or South American country is at best third-world. Every African or Muslim country is fourth-world. What's the difference, you ask? Merely look at the island of Hispanola. The eastern part of that island is the third-world Dominican Republic. The western part is fourth-world Haiti. Second-world nations tend to be those that were previously first-world, but are having to fight their way through difficult times. Southern Europe fills that bill, along with Spain and Portugal. Russia as well, although they are doing their damnedest to fight out of that, in spite of the evils of the Western Deep State and Soros and the rest of that swill.

Goober said...

The Congo has always been full of hateful, awful, backwards, and tribalism idiots. Especially the katanga region. Westerners have a hard time wrapping our minds around the realities of the scope of the lack of humanity in the people there. Cruel doesn't even approach it. Belgian colonialism was a particularly horrific form of colonialism. It's mostly been swept under the rug (because United Nations) but even a cursory review of the regions history, going back to 1800 or so, is bone chilling.

There is nothing Musk or anyone of the like can do about it, and it certainly isn't the fault of the electric storage industry.

matism said...

And THAT, Goober, is why they are Fourth World, instead of merely Third World.

And Musk et al damn sure could do a WHOLE lot about it if they chose to.

Goober said...

But it isn't their job, or their responsibility, to do so.

Goober said...

And no, I really don't think they could. This is ingrained millenia worth of social engineering. The value of human life is low in katanga. Has been, and will be, musk or no.

Ken said...

And the editors of The Economist are dislocating their shoulders patting themselves on the back for their (ahem) progressive abandonment of internal combustion.

O brave new world, that has such people in it.