Data Visualization and Storytelling


The fight against climate change has seen a global push towards the substitution of ICE vehicles with zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs). In the last 10 years, the market share of EVs has grown substantially and accelerated in the second half of the last decade (see Figure 1 below). This suggests that climate change policies have been effective in steering the public away from fossil fuel vehicles in the hope of reducing global carbon emissions.

Data Visualisation and Storytelling

However, as with many economic policies, there will be winners and losers. EVs require lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. A key raw material for producing lithium-ion batteries is cobalt, which is mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC has more than half of the world’s established cobalt reserves. Unfortunately, as it often happens, the discovery of rare minerals, be it cobalt, diamonds, or oil, may lead to armed conflict and destabilize countries. A resource windfall, therefore, may turn out to be a resource curse.

While the world’s demand for cobalt has benefited the DRC economically, there are reports that conflict is on the rise in the country. For instance, in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) article, Michael Davie described how “One of the poorest countries on Earth [i.e. the DRC] is paying a heavy price for the world’s green energy revolution”.

You are a consultant for the Global Peace Research Institute (GPRI), a think-tank focusing on economic and social issues in developing countries. The GPRI is interested if there is indeed evidence that conflict has been increasing in the DRC as suggested by recent reports in the press, and if so if this rise in conflict might be associated with climate change policies such as the push for EVs.