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(AP News)   When environmentalists divide by zero: Should we oppose an open pit lithium mine because it's bad for the environment or support it because it's good for the environment?   (apnews.com) divider line
    More: Awkward, Donald Trump, Renewable energy, Joe Biden, Board of directors, Ivana Trump, Fred Trump, former President Donald Trump's Department, open-pit lithium  
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740 clicks; posted to STEM » on 23 Jan 2021 at 7:30 PM (15 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



23 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-01-23 6:59:40 PM  
Sounds like a wash...
 
2021-01-23 7:49:47 PM  
Build a new oil refinery that is smaller, more efficient, and only creates 1/3 as much pollution or keep the old one, which is prone to spills, open because the construction site for the new one is on a pristine stretch of coastline?

I read about this dilemma years ago.  I never found out what the outcome was.
 
2021-01-23 7:58:55 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-01-23 8:43:20 PM  
Lithium mines are so awful! This could destroy the habitat of ::checks article:: Um... one flower. And a mining company involved in the project is working to preserve it.

Meanwhile there are about two major oil spills every year and medium sized oil spills nearly every day.

Whatever shall we do?!
 
2021-01-23 8:43:55 PM  
Anyone who isn't permanently conflicted isn't thinking. 7+billion people on one planet.
 
2021-01-23 8:51:26 PM  

Flurching: Anyone who isn't permanently conflicted isn't thinking. 7+billion people on one planet.


We're working on that problem here in the USA.
 
2021-01-23 8:58:57 PM  
Better to keep buying lithium from China since that is mined outside the environment.
 
2021-01-23 9:01:18 PM  

fark account name: Better to keep buying lithium from China since that is mined outside the environment.


I hear a boat got towed out there.
 
2021-01-23 9:12:41 PM  
Environmentalists aren't conflicted about these kinds of projects.

The materials being extracted are required, and possibly damaging waste products can be contained.  Ergo, support the existence of the extraction operation, and demand that they be regulated and required to contain it.

See also: pesticides.  No actual environmentalist individual or organization supports the wholesale banning of pesticides as a whole, they advocate regulation requiring containment and proper treatment of the associated waste-water and potentially the removal of specific materials that prove essentially impossible to contain or regulate sufficiently (e.g. DDT) from the list of permitted pesticides.  While this is an active problem and a "work in progress" for a number of obvious reasons, note that this approach has been successfully applied to fertilizers for decades, many of which are in theory and in raw chemical terms potentially just as damaging to water supplies and biomes as pesticides or even petroleum shipping.

Not that I'm saying no one is working on ways to eliminate the need for things like Lithium mines entirely, of course: tech advances just making a problem we've been working on for a while obsolete long before we actually solve that problem is definitely a thing.  The above argument could easily have been applied to petroleum exploration and shipping as recently as the 1980s... but because we didn't stop looking for technological replacements, we could quite literally stop extracting oil right now and not have to worry about the industries where the materials are actually necessary (basically, polymer manufacture) running out of material from the existing stockpile for half a decade.  So it's no longer necessary and advocating to just straight-up reduce or ban it is a valid argument again.

Maybe subby is thinking of hippies?  Hippies aren't environmentalists, dude, they're just morons.  Basically they adopt what they imagine the aesthetic trappings of environmentalism to be, filtered through their ignorant minds to near-unrecognizability, in the same way they perform empty philosophical dress-up to pretend to be communists or socialists or anarchists without any understanding of what those things are, either.
 
2021-01-23 9:23:19 PM  
All actions have positive and negative effects.  Measure them as reasonably as you can and make a choice.
 
2021-01-23 10:51:45 PM  
There are certainly enough nutters in this country who could benefit from dosing regularly with lithium, and since so many of them work in Washington DC that might not be a bad thing to do.
 
2021-01-23 10:52:13 PM  

Jim_Callahan: Environmentalists aren't conflicted about these kinds of projects.

The materials being extracted are required, and possibly damaging waste products can be contained.  Ergo, support the existence of the extraction operation, and demand that they be regulated and required to contain it.

See also: pesticides.  No actual environmentalist individual or organization supports the wholesale banning of pesticides as a whole, they advocate regulation requiring containment and proper treatment of the associated waste-water and potentially the removal of specific materials that prove essentially impossible to contain or regulate sufficiently (e.g. DDT) from the list of permitted pesticides.  While this is an active problem and a "work in progress" for a number of obvious reasons, note that this approach has been successfully applied to fertilizers for decades, many of which are in theory and in raw chemical terms potentially just as damaging to water supplies and biomes as pesticides or even petroleum shipping.

Not that I'm saying no one is working on ways to eliminate the need for things like Lithium mines entirely, of course: tech advances just making a problem we've been working on for a while obsolete long before we actually solve that problem is definitely a thing.  The above argument could easily have been applied to petroleum exploration and shipping as recently as the 1980s... but because we didn't stop looking for technological replacements, we could quite literally stop extracting oil right now and not have to worry about the industries where the materials are actually necessary (basically, polymer manufacture) running out of material from the existing stockpile for half a decade.  So it's no longer necessary and advocating to just straight-up reduce or ban it is a valid argument again.

Maybe subby is thinking of hippies?  Hippies aren't environmentalists, dude, they're just morons.  Basically they adopt what they imagine the aesthetic trappings of environmentalism to be, filtered through their ignorant minds to near-unrecognizability, in the same way they perform empty philosophical dress-up to pretend to be communists or socialists or anarchists without any understanding of what those things are, either.


For every technology you will find "environmentalist" groups funded by an industry group opposed to that technology based on some spurious point, especially energy related. Windmills killing birds. Solar farms destroying habitat. They have a carbon-based battery technology currently under development that will no doubt be strongly attacked on spurious grounds by the lithium industry.

Every action has a negative downstream effect. The goal is to find a solution with a more acceptable negative effect, and what is acceptable one decade may be unacceptable the next because targets are always moving.

As it stands right now, I would rather have a mine open under US regulations rather than one controlled by China in, say, Pakistan because however bad it is here, it would be completely unrestrained in the latter example. Fewer damage will be done here. Plus we need to stop giving China so much power over our supply chain. You do that by sourcing critical raw components here whenever possible.
 
2021-01-23 11:06:47 PM  

fragMasterFlash: There are certainly enough nutters in this country who could benefit from dosing regularly with lithium, and since so many of them work in Washington DC that might not be a bad thing to do.


A few large cities have a nice quantity of naturally occurring lithium in the water, unlike Flint which prefers other additives.
 
2021-01-23 11:21:57 PM  

JasonOfOrillia: All actions have positive and negative effects.  Measure them as reasonably as you can and make a choice.


Well, that is certainly a reasonable and admirable sentiment, but you know, good luck with that. If there is enough money to pass around and the environmental lobbies can be placated and co-opted, then strip mining is perfectly fine. It will be justified. Copper uses open pits. I have already heard the justification that "if big oil can do it, then so can battery manufacturers." Mistakes of the past, even when they have led to dead ends, will be used as justifications for mistakes today, and where they lead? That is for future generations to worry about. Sounds familiar.

And yet there is something really disgusting about black goo and foul smelling gases and this black rocky stuff that we have been using for fuel for the last century and change.  I have to admit that glass, silicon chips, carbon fiber blades, and concrete dams don't seem to entail such nasty pollutants. What is wrong with this picture is that we are probably just doing a better job of putting mines and factories and generation sites and waste products where we do not see or smell them. And we are not cutting consumption. We are increasing it. People want more, and they are getting it. "Environmental policy" has become an exercise in justifying higher levels of consumption.

And that sets up my snarky-farky comment. Let's offer the lithium mining jobs to some out of work coal miners. They would fit right in in Winnemucca.
 
2021-01-23 11:37:07 PM  
Subby must never have heard of a cost-benefit analysis.
 
2021-01-24 4:25:28 AM  

JasonOfOrillia: All actions have positive and negative effects.  Measure them as reasonably as you can and make a choice.


Unfortunately, that kind of analysis and self-awareness is lacking amongst the general public. Hell, it's lacking even amongst those who claim to be concerned about the environment.

CSB: I know a guy who claims to be very concerned about energy consumption and his carbon footprint, but he wants a hydrogen vehicle to stiggit to "tech bros." He apparently even went and test drove a Toyota Mirai. Having done some research on the subject, I gently reminded him that a fuel cell vehicle has a manufacturing carbon footprint on par with a 60kWh BEV, but will go on to use nearly three times as much energy per mile for the rest of its useful life. I also explained that hydrogen overwhelmingly comes from natural gas these days. It's better than gasoline, but not by a whole lot. He said he didn't care because "EVs are conspicuous consumption vehicles marketed to man-children."

We should definitely examine our choices...
 
2021-01-24 5:27:04 AM  
It's cool to get rare-earth elements without involving child slaves. So +1 there.
 
2021-01-24 9:07:24 AM  
Did you ever stop to think thst if we take lithium production jobs away from China, it'll lead to unemployment for many of its Uighur slaves? Did you, you heartless fiends?
 
2021-01-24 9:37:15 AM  
 
2021-01-24 5:05:19 PM  
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2021-01-24 6:06:42 PM  

ModernLuddite: It's cool to get rare-earth elements without involving child slaves. So +1 there.


It is much more than just Rare Earths.  We've exported environmental damage and slave labor all over the globe oftentimes because of the NIMBYs and many Environmentalist tendency to not have any ability to compromise.

wryheat.files.wordpress.comView Full Size
 
2021-01-24 6:13:18 PM  
And speaking of USGS commodity summaries, here is the sheet on Lithium
 
2021-01-25 5:17:59 AM  
 
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