2. FR
  3. Actualités
  4. Événements

Cycle de conférences en anthropologie : ŒMISSIONS Unveiled: Rethinking Emissions Reduction Beyond the Lithium-Ion Battery Black Box

Publié le 8 janvier 2024 Mis à jour le 28 janvier 2024

Cycle de conférences en anthropologie / Lectures in Anthropology : 

Title: ŒMISSIONS Unveiled: Rethinking Emissions Reduction Beyond the Lithium-Ion Battery Black Box

Speaker : Cristobal Bonelli (University of Amsterdam)


In the context of surging global temperatures, the imperative of decarbonization gains dramatic momentum, especially with the adoption of lithium-ion battery-powered electric vehicles. Anticipating a sixfold surge in mineral demand by 2050 for achieving global net-zero emissions, the International Energy Agency emphasizes the growing demand for lithium. This presentation, based on a multi-sited ethnographic research in key regions—Chile as a significant lithium producer, China as a leading lithium-ion battery producer, and Norway as a pioneer in electric vehicle adoption—critically examines emissions reduction initiatives. It reveals unnoticed omissions resulting from prioritizing lithium, batteries, and chemical knowledge in emission reduction strategies.
Introducing the concept of intercalation, inspired by battery chemistry, as an ethnographic concept which partially connects Chile, China, and Norway, I argue that emission reduction projects must be scrutinized for the omissions they generate. I offer the term ŒMISSIONS to encapsulate this simultaneous process and interconnectedness, with the ligature "Œ" intricately linking omissions and emissions; ŒMISSIONS interweaves the emissions we aim to reduce with the hidden omissions that accompany technological progress.
By shedding light on often-overlooked aspects of electromobility's energo-power dynamics, particularly how lithium-ion batteries also power work efficiency and waste governance, I challenge the predominant discourse on decarbonization. Rather than accepting emissions reduction initiatives at technological face value, this presentation opens up the battery black box, inviting anthropological curiosity to unravel the nuanced connections and overlooked violent omissions inherent in the quest for cleaner energy.
This work is part of an ongoing collaborative research endeavor within my ERC team of anthropologists contributing to the ERC “Worlds of Lithium” project (StG19 No. 853133). For more information, visit www.worldsoflithium.eu

Bio :

Cristobal Bonelli is an Associate Professor in Anthropology of Sustainable Transitions and Territorial Transformations at the department of Anthropology, at the University of Amsterdam, and principal investigator of the ERC project “Worlds of Lithium” (www.worldsoflithium.eu) . He has been trained at the intersections of social anthropology, clinical psychology and science and technology studies (STS). Building upon his transdisciplinary background, he continuously experiments with different genres and disciplines. He is driven by the urgent need to develop further a transdisciplinary thinking concerned with both the environment and human thought and practice in times of enhanced ecological sensibility and climate and political crisis.

Le 1 mars 2024

de 16h à 18h


ULB - Campus Solbosch

Salle Janne

Bâtiment S, 15e étage

Rue Jeanne, 44

1050 - Bruxelles