Sven Giegold
Member of the European Parliament – Greens/EFA Group

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

Clean batteries: Looking for your concrete suggestions

Dear friends, 

dear interested,

Whether it’s the transition to e-mobility or the electrification of our heating systems: Batteries are a key technology in the fight against climate change. If we want to move away from dirty combustion engines and oil and gas heating, we need much more storage capacity. The global battery production will therefore rise sharply in the coming years. Critics of the rapid expansion of these technologies repeatedly cite the environmental destruction and human rights violations associated with the production of batteries. These arguments cannot be dismissed today, because the mining of raw materials destroys nature and livelihoods. The production of batteries consumes a lot of energy and batteries are still too rarely recycled at the end of their life. 

But all this can be changed! Electromobility can become a real alternative to combustion engines if electric vehicle batteries are produced and recycled in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. In Europe, we therefore want to establish clear rules for the sustainability of all batteries. The European Commission has presented a legislative proposal for a new EU battery regulation. The recycling of batteries including sensitive materials like lithium and cobalt should be massively increased. And although many parts of the proposal are very good, there is still room for improvement. We Greens want to advocate for effective climate protection. Genuine recycling of every single battery must become mandatory in Europe so that our consumption of raw materials does not continue to rise. And for the whole supply chain of batteries we need binding due diligence obligations to end human rights violations and destruction of nature during production. We are already hearing about attempts by various lobby groups to water down the Commission’s proposal.

Let’s set global standards for clean batteries together. If we limit the plundering of people, the environment, and resources, we simultaneously turn the new rules into an opportunity to massively increase battery production in Europe and thus secure competitiveness and jobs. This way we win twice. 

The new EU Battery Regulation is another concrete legislative proposal within the framework of the European Green Deal. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee will discuss the Commission’s draft in the coming weeks and months. This is because the European Parliament, together with the Council of Member States, decides on the final text of any EU law. This is our opportunity to further improve the rules. I will be sitting at the negotiating table on behalf of the Green Group. Some areas are also the responsibility of the Internal Market Committee, where my colleague Anna Cavazzini is dealing with the issue.

I therefore ask you for your support: send me concrete proposals and approaches to improve the legislative text so that we can ensure clean batteries in Europe. 

Of course, I will keep you informed about further steps – because the road to sustainable batteries is a long one. 

With green European greetings,

Sven Giegold

P.S.: Urgent Petition: “Save the European Green Deal”. The centrepiece of Europe’s push to meet the Paris Climate Goals is threatened to fail. EU Member States block every step for more ambitious climate protection. But there is still the chance to #SaveTheGreenDeal. Help us bei signing and sharing this petition with others: www.change.org/save-the-eu-green-deal 

Link to the proposal by the Commission: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020PC0798