New analysis by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) have stated zero-emission vehicles need to achieve a dominant market share by approximately 2035 for the globe to meet the Paris Agreement’s lower warming limit of 1.5˚C.
Even this figure could be too late to avoid the need for significant negative emissions. This transformation of the passenger transport sector would also have to be accompanied by a decarbonisation of the power sector to ensure the electric vehicles (EV) are truly emissions free.
In the first of its decarbonisation series, the CAT analysis looks at transport, a sector that is key to achieving the deep cuts in emissions required by the Paris Agreement.
In this series the CAT will examine specific energy-intensive sectors, and how emissions can be reduced to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s long term warming limits, namely, to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2˚C, and to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5˚C.
The CAT’s latest analysis shows that if governments were to double fuel economy standards in new passenger cars by 2030, and achieve a 50% EV uptake by 2050, then most get close to—or even reach—a 2˚C warming pathway. But a 1.5˚C pathway requires more action.
“Emissions standards only get the transport fleet to a certain point—it is clear that in order to get to the Paris Agreement’s lower temperature goal of 1.5˚C, the world needs to make a paradigm shift to zero emissions vehicles,” said Markus Hagemann of NewClimate Institute.
Attention must also be paid to the recent discovery that some car manufacturers have been deliberately manipulating emissions tests.
“Perhaps a positive outcome of this scandal is that it has brought to light major shortcomings in the emissions tests themselves, sparking a move towards more realistic tests, hopefully leading to smaller discrepancies between laboratory and road emissions intensities.”
“Aside from much-needed shifts in transport behaviour, for the transport sector to decarbonise there is no choice but to adopt zero-emission vehicles. For electric vehicles this would mean that they also need to be powered by renewable electricity,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys.
To avoid exceeding a 1.5°C warming trajectory, zero global aggregate emissions would need to be reached around the middle of the century, implying that the last fossil gasoline or diesel-powered passenger vehicle would have to be sold around 2035 (assuming a new car would be on the road for an average of 15 years).
“Even a date of 2035 or so for the last new fossil-fuel powered passenger car could be late: the earlier we decarbonise the transport system, the less we will need to rely on negative emissions that largely require technologies still awaiting large-scale deployment,” said Michiel Schaeffer of Climate Analytics.
The analysis looks at two scenarios comparing a range of big emitters: the EU, China, US, Japan, India, Mexico and Brazil. Scenario 1 would see a doubling of new car fuel economy standards by 2030, and Scenario 2 a doubling of new car fuel economy standards by 2030, plus 50% (zero emission) EV’s by 2050.
· In the EU and the USA, the increased deployment of EVs would keep overall emissions on a downward trend in line with a 2°C pathway.
· In India, the projected rise in vehicle numbers (activity) is so high that absolute emissions from passenger cars would keep rising even under Scenario 2. However, this would still be in line with the IEA’s 2°C pathway for India, which foresees a similar rise in emissions, reflecting this strong expected growth.
· The situation in China, Brazil and Mexico lies between these two cases, with emissions under Scenario 2 stabilising as the effects of increased activity and reduced intensity approximately balance out. The resulting decreasing emissions trend is just enough to comply with a 2°C pathway.
· Overall emissions are expected to decrease most strongly in Japan (in both scenarios), partly due to declining activity levels.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.
Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution
The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.
Time for UK Green Revolution Change
So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.
In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.
The Current Market
The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.
One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.
It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.