Climate Child labor- Who cares?

Wealthy countries mandating green electricity encourage humanity atrocities in developing countries!

Published March 3, 2023, at Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow

Ronald Stein

Ronald Stein  is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for the Heartland Institute and CFACT, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations.”

The ruling class, powerful elite, and the media lack some energy literacy which may be the reasons they avoid conversations about the ugly side of “green” mandates and subsidies. Before anyone in Washington decides to procure wind turbines, solar panels, or an EV, they should read the Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations”,  and decide for themselves if they wish to financially support the humanity atrocities and environmental degradation among folks in developing countries with yellow, brown, and black skin, so that the wealthy countries can go green.

Child Cobalt Miners in Kailo, Congo – Author Julien Harneis, source Wikimedia.

Wealth, with no ethical or moral standards for those of lesser means, can be dangerous and fatal to the cheap labor of disposable workforces. We have seen the effects on the disposable workforce when Qatar “needed” to build seven new stadiums in a decade to be ready for the 2022 World Cup. The World Cup in Qatar kicked off on Sunday November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium, but the “acceptable” toll of more than 6,500 migrant laborers who died between 2011 and 2020,  helping to build World Cup infrastructure with cheap disposable workforce will provide viewers and participants with many lingering questions about our ethical and moral beliefs resulting from the grim toll.

The transition to electricity generation from breezes and sunshine has proven to be ultra-expensive for the wealthy countries of Germany, Australia, Great Britain, and the USA representing 6 percent of the world’s population (508 million vs 8 billion).  Those wealthy countries now have among the highest cost for their electricity, while the poorer developing countries, currently without the usage of the 20th century products manufactured from crude oil, are experiencing about 11,000,000 child deaths  every year due to the unavailability of the fossil fuel products used in wealthy countries.

When we look outside the few wealthy countries, we see that at least 80 percent of humanity, or more than six billion in this world are living on less  than $10 a day, and billions living with little to no access to electricity, politicians are pursuing the most expensive ways to generate intermittent electricity. Energy poverty is among the most crippling but least talked-about crises of the 21st century. We should not take energy for granted. Wealthy countries may be able to bear expensive electricity and fuels, but not by those that can least afford living in “energy poverty.”

Decades ago, it was sweat shops in the textile industry that grabbed everyone’s humanity interests, but today it is the “green” movement that is dominated by poorer developing countries mining for the exotic minerals and metals that support the wealthy countries that are going green at any cost to humanity, remains out of the spotlight.

Today, the wealthy countries understand developing countries have virtually no environmental laws nor labor laws, which allows those locations unlimited opportunities to exploit folks with yellow, brown, and black skin, and inflict environmental degradation to their local landscapes.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes: “A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant”.

  • Lithium: Over half of the world’s Lithium reserves are found in three South American countries that border the Andes Mountains: Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. These countries are collectively known as the “Lithium Triangle”.
  • Cobalt: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) produces 70 percent of the world’s Cobalt. While there is no shortage of environmental issues with its Cobalt mining, the overriding problem here is human rights: dangerous working conditions and the use of child labor. Cobalt is a toxic metal. Prolonged exposure and inhalation of Cobalt dust can lead to health issues of the eyes, skin, and lungs.
  • Nickel: A major component of the EV batteries, is found just below the topsoil in the Rainforests of Indonesia and the Philippines. As a result, the nickel is extracted using horizontal surface mining that results in extensive environmental degradation: deforestation and removal of the top layer of soil. 
  • Copper: Chile is the leading producer of the world’s Copper. Most of the Chile’s Copper comes from open pit/strip mines. This type of mining negatively affects vegetation, topsoil, wildlife habitats, and groundwater. The next three largest producers of copper are Peru, China, and the infamous Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Showing no moral or ethical concerns for the disposable workforce, wealthy countries continue to encourage subsidies to procure EV’s and build more wind and solar. Those subsidies are providing financial incentives to the developing countries mining for those “green” materials to continue their exploitations of poor people, and environmental degradation to their local landscapes. Are those subsidies ethical, moral, and socially responsible to those being exploited?

Many of us had a chance to view the 2006 movie “Blood Diamonds” starring  Leonardo DiCaprio that portrays many of the similar atrocities now occurring in pursuit of the  “Blood Minerals” i.e., those exotic minerals and metals to support the “green” movement within wealthy countries that continue promoting environmental degradation to landscapes in developing countries, and imposes humanity atrocities to citizens with yellow, brown, and black skinned workers being exploited for the green movement of the few wealthy nations.

A few years ago in 2021, Ronald Stein co-authored the Pulitzer Prize nominated book Clean Energy Exploitations – Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses That Support Clean Energy.  The book does an excellent job of discussing the lack of transparency to the world of the green movement’s impact upon humanity exploitations in the developing countries that are mining for the exotic minerals and metals required to create the batteries needed to store “green energy”. In these developing countries, these mining operations exploit child labor, and are responsible for the most egregious human rights’ violations of vulnerable minority populations. These operations are also directly destroying the planet through environmental degradation.

Every individual should enhance their energy literacy and know where and how the lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, etc. are being mined and the worldwide humanity atrocities and environmental degradation that is occurring in the developing countries with yellow, brown, and black skinned people.  Then, with that knowledge in hand about the supply chain of those “blood minerals” required to support the wealthy countries mandates and subsidies toward green electricity, they can make their own decision to financially support, or not support, those exploitation atrocities.

Ronald Stein, P.E.
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure
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Sam Capricci
March 4, 2023 10:08 am

I believe it was Stalin who said “If only one man dies [of hunger], that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”

These people don’t care about humanity or the environment, they just care about saying the right things and being in with the fashionable crowd.

William Howard
Reply to  Sam Capricci
March 5, 2023 6:05 am

virtue signaling is a mental disease that afflicts mostly leftists

March 4, 2023 10:26 am

I saw an article about Ben and Jerry’s recently. Seems they’ve been caught using children as young 12 and 13 years old in their American distribution centers. These kids are the children of immigrants, and many of them work more than 12 hours a day.

Ben and Jerry’s makes a big deal of the corporate policy against child labor, but I guess that only applies to other companies.

Tom Halla
Reply to  MarkW
March 4, 2023 10:33 am

The version I saw was that the minor illegals were working dairy farms supplying Ben&Jerry’s, not the distribution centers.

Ben Vorlich
March 4, 2023 11:34 am

The progress from sending children down down mines and up chimneys to being educated until they are in their late teens and early twenties was dependent on creating wealth. Creating that wealth was dependent on low cost reliable energy.
The only source of reliable, low cost and transportable energy are fossil fueis.
The side effects of wealth are manyfold not least better health and smaller family size.Although the better health leads to a huge rise in population before family size drops, but in three generations family sizes drop to around the level for a stable population, a couple of genertions later the problem is falling population.
The solution to exploitation of people is cheap reliable energy, cheap reliable energy does not include renewables.
The problem is neither the Chinese nor their customers have a great concern about how the stuff they are making or buying are produced, the green climate activists don’t care

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 4, 2023 12:13 pm

Whilst I agree that this exploitation of children is unforgiveable, there is another aspect which needs to be considered. Is giving to a charitable cause creating a situation where some recipients are no longer willing to work to achieve, as most of us have done? To provide employment which provides an income to deprived people may be better than not doing so, even if that employment is harsh and damaging. Looking back at the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the first factory employees suffered greatly, but the result was a gradual improvement in their situations leading to today’s relative affluence. Maybe what the EV-manufacturers should be encouraged to do is to set up parallel local manufacturing industries making other products with less-harmful processes? I’d rather buy a widget made in Africa than one made in China – but that too has two sides to it!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
March 4, 2023 3:29 pm

The conditions in the early factories were bad compared to modern factories. However when compared to the alternatives available at the time, they weren’t that bad. After all, the individuals employed in the factories voluntarily chose factory work over the alternatives.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 4, 2023 9:05 pm

The wealth generated by these mining operations never makes it to the people. It goes right to the kleptocrats running these third world countries. As does the climate cash we’re forced to give them.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 4, 2023 9:56 pm

There are many reports of Band-Aid and Children in Need contributions not reaching the intended people

March 4, 2023 12:07 pm

The reason there was a movie to inform us of the terribleness of illicit diamond trading, was because there is literally one single company dominating the world diamond trade. To protect the interests of De Beers, the world was taught that any diamond not sanctified by their cartel, is a demonic thing called “Blood Diamond”. The campaign seems to have worked…
There being no Cobalt competition, for example, the narrative will remain centered on radicals and rebels and terrorists, otherwise known as mercenaries fighting local subsistence farmers for control of the mining lands. Once corporate control is established, the UN “peace keepers” will arrive.
IF anybody bothers to make a movie about those mine children, it will probably revolve around the “poor Negro slave on the plantation” trope. With Will Smith arriving in a rocket helicopter to shoot all the evil (nonexistent) slave camp guards. Expect no mention of not long ago, when Welsh children would sell themselves out as mine workers, and their parents were relieved to have one less mouth to feed.
People who have never been poor and hungry, should be careful how they think about child labour. Who are we to tell someone else how to stay alive? Is it not better than selling drugs or sex? Or shall we follow the Liberalist system, that teaches “prostitution is a valid career choice”?
Now, how are we going to stop the libtards from wasting these children’s production on battery-driven virtue signals?

Last edited 23 days ago by cilo
Gary Pearse
March 4, 2023 12:23 pm

Ronald, I’ve written on numerous occasions critiques of your (Driessen’s, Homewood’s and others) articles on ‘child’ labor in DRC and on other rare metal mining pieces which none of you respond to.

I am a geologist and engineer (mining and metallurgical) with years of experience in the developing world, North America, Europe and Brazil. I’m on the same side of the argument as you and the others against cargo cult science, however, it riles me when you use lazy ‘consensus science’ methods, exaggerations and even their corrupt sources to make your case.

The photo is by Julien Harneis, longtime NGO worker now with the UN. Note how comparatively well dressed, sturdy and well fed the workers are (no patches, stitches). In every developing country where there is an area of abundant minerals and metals you can take such a photo of family/village mining groups. These people are better off than their compatriots in non mineral regions.

I’m not a specialist in Qatar’s migrant labor issues, but a Los Angeles Times article referencing an analysis by the Guardian would not be my choice of source to hang my hat and reputation on! Les see what the source says:

“A detailed analysis by the Guardian found the deaths of 37 workers were directly linked to stadium construction, part of a grim toll of more than 6,500 migrant laborers who died between 2011 and 2020, many while helping build World Cup infrastructure.”

So 37 were directly linked to stadium construction!! You have even added your own sleight of hand, Ronald. We get this kind of bs daily from the trougher ‘ l ‘scientists’ and their totalitarian bosses. Clearly, like today’s asterisked Nobel Prizes, the Pulitzer has become a weapon of wokey social justice warriors.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 4, 2023 1:04 pm

Agree. Skeptics ought not use the same tactics as the Cargo Cult Climate actors.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 5, 2023 1:22 am

In the UK, Data released by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that 30 of the 123 work-related deaths in 2021/2022 occurred in the construction sector.
Construction was followed in the death toll by agriculture, forestry and fishing, as well as manufacturing which each accounted for 22 deaths.

Gunga Din
March 4, 2023 2:18 pm

Where are all those who virtue signaled against “sweat shops” several years ago?
Do they count those years as “sweat credits”?

Ron Long
March 4, 2023 2:55 pm

Insofar as an article about exploitation of children in un-regulated mining scenarios the report is fine. However, a modern mine, of whatever metal or mineral, can be run without environmental degradation, and with a positive impact on the local community, in most circumstances. As a mining exploration geologist who has worked in 12 different countries, I either see how a mining venture fits into the local economy and culture or I leave it alone. Sure, this adds a little to the production costs, but that is a cultural decision, which CAGW Greenie Loonys don’t care about.

Forrest Gardener
March 4, 2023 2:59 pm

Big is the enemy of good. But I don’t understand the focus on skin colour.

Reply to  Forrest Gardener
March 4, 2023 6:10 pm

For the most part it’s to lampoon the self righteous leftists who like to claim that they spend all their time trying to help people of color, yet consistently push policies that harm those they claim to be helping.

Last edited 22 days ago by MarkW
March 4, 2023 8:05 pm

Beyond the deprivations to poor people and their children pointed out in the article, there is also the stark reality that the world doesn’t even come close to possessing (at this point in time) the required amounts of all of these minerals to support this irrational move to a “green” economy.

Reply to  spren
March 4, 2023 11:13 pm

Agree. I wish someone would write a clear and succinct article about that. (Emphasis on succinct — I’ve got the .pdf of that guy’s paper delivered to Finland or wherever….. It’s not succinct.) And, if it’s been written already, my apologies for not searching for it. Please just post the link.

Reply to  PVLFG
March 4, 2023 11:16 pm

Oops. Never mind. I just stumbled on Mr. Kelly’s article above.

March 5, 2023 1:46 am

Child labor in Africa and elsewhere
Slave labor for Chinese solar panels
Dead whales from windmills
I care.

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