October 16, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Biden wants more electric cars. But will it harm environment?

President Biden wants 40% of new cars to be electric by 2030. As automakers race to meet demand, they’re setting off a mining rush worldwide from rare earth and critical metals. Cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel here in the United States are hard to come by, but exist in sensitive habitats such as the ocean floor and Indigenous land. Now, environmentalists and activists are questioning whether electric cars are the wisest way to tackle climate change.

In this episode, we take you to the lithium mines of the western U.S. in Nevada, to the geothermal vents of California’s Salton Sea, and to the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times policy reporter Evan Halper

More reading:

California’s electric car revolution, designed to save the planet, also unleashes a toll on it

Column: I was going to buy an all-electric car but chickened out. Here’s why

Good luck getting a state rebate on your new electric car