Consumers already squeezing by record-high gas prices, may soon be able to enjoy an additional incentive to abandon the gas station altogether.
One of the climate-related provisions of the historic reconciliation bill that is currently moving across Congress is a tax credit to those who purchase electric vehicles.
Stopping our dependence on cars which run on gasoline could be beneficial to both our pockets and the environment. If America is headed towards an electric automobile revolution, we must to ensure that car makers create greener vehicles in a responsible manner.
The transportation sector is accountable for more that a quarter all America’s greenhouse gas emissions. The major portion of which is generated by gas or diesel-powered vehicles and trucks.
Even though America has a high percentage of sixty percent power from fossil fuels, electric vehicles are less carbon-intensive than gas-powered vehicles. the carbon footprint will continue to shrink as we produce more energy using renewable energy sources.
A lower dependence on oil could reduce our reliance on petrostates as well as their autocratic rulers. This would make us less susceptible to the volatility of prices for energy.
Concerning human rights, electric vehicles aren’t so clean as their emission.
The move towards electric vehicles as well as other energy-related technologies has triggered the world to compete for vital minerals for battery manufacturing, such as graphite, lithium and cobalt and nickel. In the coming years, demands for the other elements, like aluminum for the casing of batteries or car panels will grow drastically.
The path that these products travel to consumers is filled with human rights violations.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, that produces 70% of the world’s cobalt Children and adults inhale polluted dust as they search for minerals in pits that are made up. Congo’s industrial cobalt mines, which provide the world’s car industry are subject to unsafe work conditions and poor treatment.
In Guinea in Guinea, a West African country with the largest deposits of bauxite, an essential ore to make aluminum, mining companies force the poor farmers off their farms and degrade their water sources to build mining operations that are fed into automobile industrial supply chains.
In China the largest market for refining and processing of vital minerals, in addition to the production of steel and aluminum the reliance on coal power for refining and mineral processing is a significant contributor to the greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.
Automakers could be pushed by governments to stop human rights abuses within their supply chains through laws that require car companies to source materials ethically.
The European Union is preparing a regulation that, in spite of some limitations, will make battery producers aware and address human rights or environmental violations in their raw materials like graphite, cobalt and nickel, and lithium.
Companies that do not take care to manage human rights concerns within their supply chains would eventually be unable sell their batteries to the EU.
The tax incentives for electric vehicles in the reconciliation bill contain the obligation for car manufacturers to make a percentage of the electric vehicle’s battery components in the United States, as well as sourcing a portion of the minerals in the battery by recycling content or from countries that have a free-trade arrangement with United States.
Following a short period of transition the vehicles will also be ineligible to receive the credit if their batteries are made up of components or materials from an “foreign entity of concern,” possibly excluding cars which source parts or minerals from China.
The auto industry claims that these rules will restrict the amount of vehicles that are qualified for tax credit and their advocates claim they are essential to limit the risk of supply chain disruptions and weaknesses.
Moving production chains into the United States or its allies however, doesn’t reduce the possibility of human rights violations.
Advocates warn that America’s outdated mining laws, that are being reviewed by the Biden administration is currently reviewing aren’t currently in place to safeguard communities and the natural environment from the effects of mining.
Mining-related violations can be found in any state, regardless of regardless of whether there is an agreement for free trade in place with United States or otherwise.
A boost in government support for electric vehicles should be accompanied with the provision that car makers are required to source their products responsibly, either as part of the reconciliation bill or in the regulations that follow to implement programs for tax credits.
Car companies must be obliged to identify and report the refineries and mines in the supply chain of their suppliers, and conduct and evaluate rigorous third-party evaluations of refineries’ and mines in respect of environmental rights and human rights and ensure that they take corrective measures in response to violations.
The backing for electric vehicle in the huge reconciliation bill is a possible step towards reducing the emissions of vehicles. Take a look under the hood, but car manufacturers need to do a lot more work complete.