COBALT is essential to modern technology. All sorts of electronic devices rely on it, along with other elements such as lithium. Solar panels and electric vehicles (EVs) wouldn’t function without them. While the environmental degradation associated with both lithium and cobalt extraction is well established, the issues around cobalt are even more poignant because of the manner in which it is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A new book, Cobalt Red: How the blood of the Congo powers our lives, published in January this year, details the human suffering, especially of children, directly involved in the mining. Written by a Nottingham University professor, Siddartha Kara, from first-hand knowledge gained by visiting the Congo, this is a book that should be required reading for every local authority that is implementing the Net Zero agenda. (You can read a review here). Professor Kara is a British Academy Global Professor and Rights Lab Associate Professor of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. He advises several UN agencies and numerous governments on anti-slavery policy and the law. We should take him seriously.
What happens in the Congo matters because it is the largest producer of cobalt, accounting for 70 per cent of global production. In 2022 there was a reported output of 130,000 tonnes; the next largest producer, Russia, mined 8,900 tonnes.
At a time when there is growing realisation of the plight of the children of the world, when more people are becoming aware of the Sound of Freedom (the film about child trafficking), it is impossible to reconcile what is happening in the Congo with saving the planet through the use of renewables and other technology. It is not acceptable that children should be sacrificed for us to live in our own little tech-enhanced eco-bubbles.
And yet there are virtue-signalling ‘green’ councils who boast about their use of ‘appropriate’ technology, which includes solar panels and EVs, who seem to have no idea about the inappropriateness of such technology. These fake green councils are in denial about so much. They have no awareness of the history of climate science, of how it all grew out of the oligarchs’ Club of Rome back in the 1970s. Instead they want us to believe that there were decades of concerned scientists warning humanity about climate change and then the elites took over. They are so wilfully ignorant.
The twisting of the history of climate science matters, because that way we fail to spot the deliberate manipulation. If it were too obvious that billionaires are behind the whole scam, we might struggle to believe the science. In the same way, we aren’t supposed to know that the billionaires fund activists such as XR who keep the greenest of ‘green’ councils on track. Forcing councils to focus on the so-called evil of fossil fuels, and carbon reduction, is a way of distracting from the even greater evil of cobalt extraction.