The world is finally starting to act on climate change, but the impression is that what is about to come out of the COP26 that closed yesterday is totally insufficient.
This week, a number of nations and carmakers agreed that we must aim for 100% fossil-free, zero-emission car sales by 2040. The deal also involved India, the second (and future first) country. most populous in the world. In all, the signatories are 30: the partnership now includes not only China, but also Brazil and Indonesia, among others. Six automakers are involved including giants like Ford and General Motors.
Those who are missing make more noise, however. And there is a lack of the USA, Japan, Germany and other crucial nations in vehicle manufacturing. Among the companies, not surprising is the absence of Toyota, but seeing Renault or Kia out of action is terrible. Even the much talked about “Voltswagen”, so linked to the electric future of vehicles, hasn't signed any agreements. Good. So to speak.
Not only would 2040 be too late, but it would show a hypocritical and inadequate face of world politics, as well as an insufficient limit, assessed only by virtue of listless calculations. To obtain this result, in fact, all the players in the field will have to make practically no extraordinary effort.
For the lazy: do you know what it says? He says the world must stop investing NOW, THIS YEAR in new fossil fuel-based projects. And he says new car sales have to be electric 60% by 2030. Above all, it says that all (I emphasize: all) new car sales must be electric by 2035.
Not in 2040.
The IEA report goes further, also defining the "net benefit of these ideas". Over 2 million lives saved and 0,4% more global GDP growth per year. These are the results for an investment made in favor of all earthlings, and not just some.
To abandon fossil fuel in 2035? Mathematically easy.
Some may argue that reaching the milestone in 2035 is too difficult, but the math says it is not.
A common rule of thumb in the auto industry is that a model cycle of cars lasts approximately 5-7 years, more or less, before a significant "refresh". And that new cycle of cars will also go from design to production in about 5-7 years. If we take every vehicle model to the road today and let it run until the “natural” end of its cycle, it can be done more successfully make 2035 the year the last fossil fuel vehicle is sold to consumers.
Any automaker that has been dumb (or greedy) enough to start the process of designing a new fossil fuel vehicle this year the whole next 5-7 years may still pass to design that vehicle before launch (2021-2028), and then spend another 5-7 years selling that vehicle until the end of its model cycle (2028-2035). Even just at that natural pace, we would be still close at the expiration of 2035.
Since 2014, when Tesla showed the "dinosaurs" what he was capable of, serious companies should have figured out where the wind would go.
The future has already been written. Insane and criminal slow down the process again
Norway has set its sights on 2025 for a total stop to fossil fuel vehicles, yet as early as 2021, sales of new "old-fashioned" cars have practically vanished in the country. Most of the new cars are electric only, over 80%, and nearly 10% have some sort of electrified powertrain. Trends show these numbers continue to rise
The main obstacles to mass adoption? Greater availability / variety of models and the development of dedicated infrastructures. 14 years should be more than enough to solve these problems, provided you start seriously now.
There isn't much to go around it: we have to do so, according to science, in order to avoid the worst of the climate emergency. According to mathematics, however, we can do it, without changing the current production plans.