Faced with the ecological crisis and its ravages, CAQ governement is trying to sell its ecocidal projects with a strategy of greenwashing. NorthVolt battery factory is a case in point.
Construction of the McMasterville mega-plant is in its preparatory stages, and aims to destroy 13 hectares of protected environments, the last refuges for several threatened species, used for nesting and migration by 142 species of birds, including bank swallows, whose population has collapsed by 99% over the last half-century. The machinery will be in place for another 5 weeks to cut down the trees, before authorizations are given to destroy the wetlands.
The Environment Minister has already blocked a real estate project on this same land, because it was "detrimental to the conservation of biodiversity", but the CAQ had no hesitation in amending the Environment Quality Act so that an environmental assessment, namely a BAPE (a review by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement), would no longer be required. Indeed, the most minimal environmental assessment would not allow the mega-plant project to go ahead. These backroom deals are justified by the electric cars that could be powered by batteries produced by NorthVolt.
However, this so-called transition to electric cars requires the construction of new hydroelectric dams, as the factory alone would gobble up 2% of all the electricity produced by Hydro-Québec. Battery production also requires dangerous and polluting processes to extract, purify and transport minerals. For example, to produce 1 tonne of lithium, needed for the batteries of approximately 100 cars, 2 million tonnes of water are required. Moreover, the production of electric cars is more polluting than that of gasoline-powered cars; for a single vehicle, 4 tonnes of CO2 are emitted! In addition to being available in limited quantities in specific regions, the metals needed for batteries require the opening of hundreds of mines, once again dispossessing Indigenous from their lands and exploiting them for the benefit of colonial countries. NorthVolt is thus part of a capitalist and colonial dynamic of infinite growth including local and global dispossession.
These millions of batteries cannot be used forever, and recycling them would be unfeasible, as it would make it impossible to make profit. The recovery process requires a lot of energy, emits greenhouse gases and produces large quantities of non-recyclable waste. Currently, only 5% of electric car batteries are recycled!
Let's not be fooled by NorthVolt's greenwashing! Let's fight against the car-based lifestyle that aggravates social atomization and overproduction! Down with car culture!
Climate Rage invites all groups and individuals to organize disruptive actions that directly confront NorthVolt and the state that funds it. Fighting NorthVolt means taking action against imperialism, colonialism and ecological disasters locally and globally. It also means fighting for social transformation, which means rethinking urban planning and means of transport.
Until the factory is completed, the billions of dollars used to build it cannot make profit. Any action that slows down construction can lead to abandonment of the project, as profit margins are always slim, while cost overruns and construction delays are to be expected. This is a strategic moment to act while there's still time.