The lithium conundrum

The world needs more lithium. Lithium mining could be the next oil boom. But its extraction will have a destructive toll on the environment and communities.

To adhere to the Paris Agreement and limit the average rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2 degrees Celsius at the most) compared with pre-industrial levels, we must wean off fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—that have become embedded in the global economy since the Industrial Revolution.

We must expand renewable sources of energy like solar and wind that do not emit greenhouse gases while exploring the deployment of new, clean sources of energy.

At the heart of this transition to a green future is a silvery-grey metal: lithium. It’s the light metal found in devices such as …


Anirban Mahapatra

Anirban, a microbiologist by training, is the author of COVID-19: Separating Fact From Fiction.