copied from an earier post but relevant: I kinda tend to go off on this one cuz I think a lot about efficient technologies etc
Here's reality - we need energy. it's never free and it's never perfect. Best way to reduce impact? reduce energy use!
besides that, no form of energy can possibly be perfectly clean. And while easily glossed over by casual advocates of "green" energy it's equally or more overstated by strident critics.
But fortunately we don't need to rely on the talking points of idealists or conservative defeatists - the truths are in the numbers, the numbers are easily accessible, and people have devoted enormous efforts into studying the fine details and published reports on cradle to grave including the manufacture costs and disposal costs, compiled from literal thousands of published works. Even when you consider the impact of manufacturing the "green" technologies; wind, solar and nuclear are vastly less polluting than coal. (for example: sure mining material for the batteries in a wind turbine generator are polluting, but how do you think coal plants get power from their steam turbines?)
I think nuclear can be a worthwhile solution, not the ultimate but demonstrably better than coal, there's the risk that it won't be completely contained, but in my opinion that's a better outcome than the pollution from power generation being knowingly and intentionally uncontained.
it's also unfair to consider just the direct impact of a car for example, and compare it to the whole cradle to grave impact of electric vehicles. lets reuse old shit - pretty much anything new is a waste of resources. It's kinda unfair to imply that only materials for green technology are required to be sustainably sourced.
regarding battery for electrics it becomes advantageous if we also adopt more renewable energy sources, but in order to do that we need the demand, chicken/egg, building the infrastructure and technology is moving in the right direction, versus stagnating and saying it's not clean enough now so we might as well not even try.
and further we NEED to improve the recycling technology. it's easy with proper regulation to ensure that the vast majority of batteries are reclaimed. Yet it's still more economical to dig the metals out than reclaim them after being in batteries, due to the chemical reactions that make batteries function it's feasibile to envision a future where a majority of the raw materials aren't being mined. Look at PGM's for catalytic converters as an example. Also it's driven tech to some less harmful solutions too, cobalt's declined in popularity