The Auto Industry Alone Will Blow The 1.5 Degree Carbon Budget – Treehugger | CarTailz

A new study by researchers in Australia and Germany, published by Greenpeace in Germany, finds that light commercial vehicles (LDVs or cars, light trucks and SUVs) with internal combustion engines (ICE) alone could emit up to 116 gigatons of carbon dioxide. The report, which is based on current manufacturers’ forecasts, states: “The phase-out of combustion engines and full electrification of LDV sales by 2030 are necessary to stay within a 1.5°C carbon budget for manufacturers like Volkswagen.” , Toyota, Hyundai/Kia and GM – lead to projections of just 52% of battery electric vehicle sales by 2030.”

Bring up the commentator who will say, “What 1.5°C carbon budget? It’s already gone.” To which we respond that every fraction of a degree matters, every kilogram of CO2 matters, and 116 gigatonnes matters whether you have a goal or not. It’s not the whole carbon budget the authors are thinking of either – they’re working with the Paris Agreement’s 400 GT, much of which is already gone.

The report authors – from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Center of Automotive Management, University of Applied Sciences (FHDW) and Greenpeace Germany – calculated the appropriate share of the carbon budget for cars based on current emissions shares from industrial sectors and came to 53 gt.

However, you notice that there is an ICE bubble on the horizon.

“Current planning by automakers is expected to create an ICE bubble of at least 330 million to 463 million LDVs – vehicles that the industry plans to sell that exceed the number of possible sales under a 1.5°C compatible carbon budget. Without significant changes in the structure of the LDV market (vehicle size, horsepower) and usage patterns (vehicle lifespan, mileage), the 53 Gt carbon budget allows for the sales of an additional 315 million ICE vehicles from 2022. However, at the same time, the ICE sales are forecast vary between at least 645 million and 778 million vehicles. This represents an overshoot of 105% to 147% compared to the 1.5°C compatible number of ICE sales.”

Global ramp-up for battery-powered electric vehicles.

Professor Sven Teske et al

That’s a lot of cars, and the problem is that the transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is happening too slowly. One problem is that Toyota is the largest manufacturer in the world, and it has dragged its feet. Surprisingly, the General Motors company that killed the electric car is the most aggressive.


The green line is where we should go and the blue is the projected reality. The authors of the study say: “By 2030, phase-out of the internal combustion engine and full electrification of LDV sales is required.”

There is an additional problem with all of these internal combustion engines: carbon lock-in. Someone who buys an internal combustion engine car in 2030 may drive it for another 20 years, although finding a gas station could be difficult. But even if manufacturers wanted, it will be interesting to find batteries for the ice bubble of 463 million vehicles.

The numbers being thrown around, over three-quarters of a billion new cars, are disheartening; They didn’t even mention the upfront carbon released while they were all built. Treehugger’s immediate response to these numbers is to build fewer cars and offer alternatives. The study authors mention this in their conclusions: “A shift from individual transport systems such as cars to public transport and non-energetic mobility such as cycling and walking is essential and would reduce the required number of new BEVs.”

They also point to the difficulties ahead:

“To reach the 1.5°C target, leading automakers must switch to 100 percent BEV sales by 2030. This must go hand in hand with expanding the required charging infrastructure and generating renewable electricity to charge EV batteries. Securing scarce raw materials for battery production in the long term represents an additional challenge. Car manufacturers must therefore concentrate on the entire electromobility value chain, which can have a positive effect on the company’s value in the medium and long term.”

Whether we find alternatives to lithium or get everyone on bikes, we need to figure out how not to build about 463 million gasoline-powered cars in the next seven years. I keep saying that the hard truth is that we have to make hard decisions now, instead of just letting 1.5 degrees pass because it’s too expensive or uncomfortable. This is one of those difficult decisions.

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