Greenpeace: 5 Major EV Brands Say No to Deep Sea Mining

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Greenpeace USA has unveiled its Race to the Top web application, which ranks eight major electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers on their public stance on deep sea mining. US automakers Ford, General Motors, and Tesla were at the bottom of the ranking, as they have not made a public commitment supporting a moratorium on deep sea mining nor pledged to exclude deep sea minerals from their supply chains.

Deep sea mining companies are counting on the EV market to launch this destructive industry, which could begin operations as early as next year. Yet five of the eight EV manufacturers ranked by Greenpeace (Rivian, Renault, BMW Group, Volvo, and Volkswagen) have publicly supported a global moratorium on deep sea mining and publicly committed to not sourcing minerals from the deep seabed.

Greenpeace USA project lead on deep sea mining Arlo Hemphill said: “Should deep sea mining begin on an industrial scale, it would cause significant and irreversible damage to our oceans and our climate. The stance taken by Rivian, Renault, BMW Group, Volvo, and Volkswagen against deep sea mining is a strong signal to the mining companies lining up to plunder one of the most important and fragile ecosystems on Earth that this new industry may not even have a market. It is contradictory to the green energy and transport transition we need.”

Hemphill continued: “Ford, General Motors, and Tesla have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership that prioritizes the well-being of people and our planet by supporting the call for a moratorium on deep sea mining. Their silence on this issue is not acceptable.”

Electric vehicle companies have other options to reduce the need for minerals: they can reduce the need for minerals by scaling up closed-loop battery recycling and improving battery efficiency and new chemistries — two criteria taken into account in this ranking.

The launch of the Race to the Top application occurs as delegates from around the world are gathered in Kingston, Jamaica, for a meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The body charged with protecting the seabed as the “common heritage of Humankind” has been criticized by civil society for working closely with prospective deep sea mining companies and fast-tracking regulations that could allow the industry to begin operations as early as July 2023. It has also come under fire for its lack of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity and for hampering interactions between member states and civil society in one of the most important discussions about the future of the oceans.

Momentum is growing for a moratorium to stop the emerging industry before it starts as opposition builds from frontline communities, civil society, scientists, automobile and technology companies, financial institutions, and the fishing industry. The Pacific nations of Palau, Fiji, Samoa, and Micronesia, citing concerns about the impact the industry would have on the health of the ocean and the lives and livelihoods of Pacific Peoples, recently launched an alliance calling for a moratorium on the sector’s developmentChile also recently submitted a letter to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea calling for a 15-year moratorium on the nascent industry. Over 200 members of Parliament from 47 different countries have called for a moratorium on deep sea mining.

Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner James Hita said: “Mining in and around the Pacific will have devastating impacts for generations to come. We are tangata o te moana, we are people of the ocean, and we have the responsibility as kaitiaki — guardians — to ensure its sustainability. Governments should act on the understanding that things will never change until they stop the extractive industry overburdening the ocean for the profit of a few.”

Greenpeace USA welcomes the pledges of some of these automakers to publicly support a moratorium on deep sea mining and to keep deep sea minerals from their supply chains, but remains critical of a range of problems in this industry broadly, including labor abuses and fossil fuel emissions.

Courtesy of Greenpeace

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