07 July 2022 – Environmental Justice & Human Rights

7 Jul, 2022 | News Digests

‘Insane’ lithium price bump threatens EV fix for climate change

Al Jazeera, 07 Jul 2022

Lithium, the highly reactive silver-white metal that is a crucial ingredient in batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs), is becoming much more expensive – and fast. In April, as prices hit a record $78,000 a tonne, Tesla CEO Elon Musk floated the idea of the electric carmaker mining and refining the lightweight metal itself due to the “insane” increase in costs.For governments ranging from China to the European Union that have pledged to phase out combustion engines in the near future, the soaring cost and growing scarcity of the metal raise questions about how they will meet their deadlines, many of which come due as soon as 2035. With combustion engines accounting for one-quarter of carbon emissions, according to the United Nations, a delay in transitioning away from petrol and diesel cars would deal a serious blow to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and avert the worst effects of climate change.

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Failure of US climate leadership compounds fears for COP27 summit

Financial Times, 07 Jul 2022

Big global emitters are calling into question the US’s commitment to tackling climate change, following legislative setbacks capped by the Supreme Court ruling against federal regulation of carbon emissions. With four months until the UN’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt, the US failure to implement its signature climate policies is weighing on the outcome of a summit that is struggling to gain momentum because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After the court ruled to restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon dioxide produced by power plants, several big emitters including China warned that this damaged the US government’s international credibility.

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The Importance of Ecofeminism and Environmental Ethics

Earth.org, 06 Jul 2022

To better understand the concepts of ecofeminism and environmental ethics, we must first realise that climate change is not only an environmental issue, but also a political and social issue. These concepts take on greater importance in the face of the current climate crisis and are more relevant than ever when we realise that the root causes (capitalism, patriarchy, etc.) of climate change are also at the origin of profound injustices. 

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Climate change: ‘Sand battery’ could solve green energy’s big problem

BBC News, 05 Jul 2022

Finnish researchers have installed the world’s first fully working “sand battery” which can store green power for months at a time. The developers say this could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy. Using low-grade sand, the device is charged up with heat made from cheap electricity from solar or wind. The sand stores the heat at around 500C, which can then warm homes in winter when energy is more expensive.Finland gets most of its gas from Russia, so the war in Ukraine has drawn the issue of green power into sharp focus. 

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Spain and Portugal suffering driest climate for 1,200 years, research shows

The Guardian, 04 Jul 2022

Spain and Portugal are suffering their driest climate for at least 1,200 years, according to research, with severe implications for both food production and tourism. Most rain on the Iberian peninsula falls in winter as wet, low-pressure systems blow in from the Atlantic. But a high-pressure system off the coast, called the Azores high, can block the wet weather fronts. The researchers found that winters featuring “extremely large” Azores highs have increased dramatically from one winter in 10 before 1850 to one in four since 1980. These extremes also push the wet weather northwards, making downpours in the northern UK and Scandinavia more likely.

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U.N. Ocean Conference ends with promises. Is a sea change coming?

Mongabay, 01 Jul 2022

The second United Nations Oceans Conference took place from June 27 to July 1 in Lisbon, focusing on the protection of life under water, as dictated by U.N. Sustainable Development Goal No. 14. The conference was originally meant to have taken place in 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While nations, NGOs and other entities made hundreds of conservation commitments, including pledges to expand marine protected areas, end destructive fishing practices, and fund conservation efforts, experts say there is still a lot of work to be done to protect our oceans. Coalitions of small-scale fishers and Indigenous peoples also voiced their concerns about being excluded from important conservation dialogues.

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