A study which focused on 12 carmakers globally has found that the world’s biggest carmakers plan to build about 400m more diesel and petrol cars than what is sustainable to contain global heating.
To undertake the study, researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the University of Applied Sciences of the Industry in Bergisch Gladbach and Greenpeace Germany compared the rate at which the world needed to embrace zero-emissions vehicles with the rate at which major car companies were planning to produce various models.
The report showed that some of Australia’s most popular brands – Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia – were on track to make far more petrol and diesel cars than is sustainable if the world is to limit global heating to the Paris climate agreement target of 1.5C.
The researchers also calculated the global carbon budget – how much carbon the world can still emit and remain within a 1.5C envelope – using a climate model developed by UTS and came up with a figure of 53Gt.
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“The carbon budget of 53Gt allows for the sale of an additional 315 million ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles as of 2022,” the report showed. “At the same time, however, projected ICE sales range between at least 645m and 778m vehicles. This represents an overshoot of 105% to 147% compared to the 1.5°C-compatible number of ICE sales.”
Carmakers are said to be shifting towards electric vehicles around the world, with companies such as Volvo, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz planning to stop manufacturing petrol engines, some as soon as 2025.
However, Toyota was expected to produce 63m more petrol and diesel cars than was sustainable, followed by Volkswagen with 43m and Hyundai with 39m, the report found.
An associate professor at UTS and co-author of the report, Sven Teske said that the research showed there was a need for a global ban on new petrol vehicles beyond 2030.
“By 2030 at the very latest, all new vehicles sold on the market must be electric,” Teske was quoted as saying.
On his part, a director at Transport Energy/Emission Research who was not involved in the report, Dr Robin Smit, said that Australia had become a market for heavy, thirsty SUVs.
“The sustained and increasing proportion of large and heavy passenger vehicles in on-road fleets around the world and particularly in Australia has a detrimental effect on energy efficiency and global greenhouse gas emissions,” Smit said.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.