Batteries are everywhere. In our electronics, our power tools, our electric grid, and in our cars. And almost all those batteries use a lithium-ion chemistry.

To make an all-electric world possible, we’re going to need a lot of lithium. Prices are up 400 percent over 2021. And demand is expected to increase fivefold over the next decade.

The Imperial Valley in southern California is home to the Salton Sea, a land-locked body of water that contains vast reserves of lithium. California Governor Gavin Newsom called the region the “Saudi Arabia of Lithium.” If mined, it could completely reshape the global supply chain.

But locals who live near the Salton Sea – a region plagued by unemployment and pollution – worry that the rush to extract the resource won’t benefit the people living there. 

This week on The Carbon Copy: California has ambitious plans to fuel the global EV boom with the Salton Sea’s lithium. But will the people who need it most get left behind?

Guests: Independent reporter Aaron Cantú, who wrote about the Salton Sea’s Lithium industry here. And Luis Olmedo, executive director of Comité Cívico del Valle.

The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Support for Carbon Copy comes from Climate Positive, a podcast from Hannon Armstrong, the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investing in climate solutions. Climate Positive podcast features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators, and changemakers driving our climate positive future. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.