Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Bruce Elmslie


The Paris Climate Agreement proposes to have 20% of all road transport vehicles be electric by the year 2030. Implementation of this policy is critical to help obtain a 2 degrees Celsius reduction in the increase of global temperatures by 2030. This paper dives into the true costs of taking on a project that large scale. This study finds that though the benefits of this project would result in a 351,785,600 tons of GHG saved by the electric conversion there are significant environmental and human costs associated with the mining necessary to complete the agreement's goal. With current technologies and depreciation rates it would take hundreds of year to produce enough Lithium and Cobalt to create the batteries necessary for the electric vehicle conversion. On top of that significant damage to the ecosystems around the mines as well as labor and child labor abuse. Finally the paper offers policy alternatives to supplement the Paris Climate Agreement's initial plan.