By Hugh Finlay
A coalition of 10 corporations declared that they want to see only electric vehicles on the roads by 2030, 10 years earlier than the targets of the French and British governments. China, India and Germany have indicated that they may also follow France and Britain, by declaring a target date for the ending of combustion engine vehicles.
Combustion engine vehicles create 25% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and half these vehicles are used by companies. So the corporations that form this new coalition (known as EV100), hope that car makers will move more quickly to put electric vehicles on the market and phase out combustion engine vehicles. The members of this EV100 group are: IKEA, Metro AG, Unilever, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc. Deutsche Post DHL, and Baidu, and LeasePlan, Vattenfall, and PG&E.
Roland Hwang, in charge of the transportation and energy program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said "An EV100 - a big corporate commitment towards EVs (electric vehicles) - is exactly what is needed at this point. We are on that tipping point, and we could easily stall. It's no longer the same ball game as 2010. We're not trying to push a big rock up a hill." Hwang feels that by 2050 the US will cut its greenhouse-causing gases by 80%, and have 70% of its power coming from renewable sources, such as hydropower. Furthermore, he sees most vehicles on US roads being battery-powered electric vehicles, by 2050.
The cost of electric vehicles is coming down, due to improved technology such as lithium batteries being much cheaper than before.
"We see clear winners for the next 25 years - natural gas but especially wind and solar - replacing the champion of the previous 25 years, coal. But there is no single story about the future of global energy; in practice, government policies will determine where we go from here." said Dr Faith Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency. Investment in oil and coal continues to fall as renewable technology advances, and governments favor renewable energy in an attempt to cut the unpopular levels of air pollution, especially bad in cities. Governments are aware that the targets of the Paris Agreement are not be enough to reduce global warming, and that further reforms will be necessary to protect the environment.
The CEO of The Climate Group Helen Clarkson, said "We want to make electric transport the new normal. There are two fundamental problems to be addressed. Transport is still the fastest growing area of carbon emissions, as the shift to electric vehicles is not happening fast enough; and mass system change, even with Government intervention, needs much greater customer demand. EV100 will use companies' global buying power and influence on employees to build demand and cut costs. The members being announced today see the business logic in leading a faster transition and addressing local air quality issues in their markets. They are setting a competitive challenge to the auto industry to deliver more EVs sooner and at a lower cost."
"Renewables make very large strides in coming decades but their gains remain largely confined to electricity generation. The next frontier for the renewable story is to expand their use in the industrial, building and transportation sectors where enormous potential for growth exists." said Dr Faith Birol.