Humanity needs to make "rapid" and "far-reaching" changes if it wants global warming to remain within manageable thresholds. It was the warning that the IPCC, the group of scientists that radiographed climate change for the UN, launched just over a month ago. And those changes must be directed to strong reductions of greenhouse gases imminently.
Fossil fuels (such as gasoline and diesel) are in the crosshairs of the European Commission, the EU Parliament and some countries, inside and outside Europe. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition of Spain prepares the future climate change law and, among the measures proposed, is vetoing the sales of gasoline and diesel cars from 2040. In 2050, according to the forecasts of that department, cars that emit CO should stop circulatingtwo.
Several countries, such as the United Kingdom or France, handle similar calendars. But 2040 is too late. At least, it is what emerges from the report on the EU prepared by the organization Transport & Environment, a federation specializing in sustainable transport, of which around 50 European NGOs are part. "Europe must sell its last internal combustion engine car during the first years of the 2030s in order to decarbonize its transport in 2050 and thus fulfill the objective of the Paris Agreement", says this federation.
The report highlights the importance of taking concrete measures to reduce the use of the car as a weapon in the fight against climate change (and pollution). For example, increase taxes on fossil fuels, prioritize car sharing or create areas of restricted traffic in cities. But the document warns that even with a "package of measures to reduce demand" would achieve, at most, a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases from cars of 28% in 2050. Therefore, if Europe wants to To comply with the Paris Agreement and with the recommendations of the IPCC, it is necessary to end sales of combustion vehicles by 2035 "at the latest".
"If we want to avoid a dangerous climate change we have to change the electric car market much faster than what is proposed now," says Thomas Earl, an analyst at Transport & Environment. In particular, the proposals that the European Commission has on the table for 2025 and 2030 represent only 60% of the effort necessary to comply with the Paris Agreement.
Míriam Zaitegui, expert in climate change policies of the Ecodes organization, points out that in the case of Spain the date proposed by the Government in the draft climate change law is also "insufficient" and should be anticipated by 2035. However, the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, defended this Wednesday in the Congress that 2040 is a "good date".
The Transport & Environment report proposes several concrete measures to the EU rulers; for example, that national tax policies be reformed to "accelerate the transition" to vehicles with zero emissions. It would seek to adopt policies similar to those applied in Norway to match the cost of electric cars and internal combustion. Or create a broad European network of electric vehicle charging and enhance the battery manufacturing industry in the EU, a business that China now controls.
Transport & Environment analyzes several alternatives for cars, such as those that use hydrogen and biofuels. But he concludes that the most efficient alternative for the next decades is that of electric cars.
The report highlights that even if only zero-emission cars were sold in 2035, the remaining fleet will remain active and emit millions of tonnes even in 2050. That is why measures will be needed to "accelerate the renewal of the fleet". For example, limiting the age of cars at the time of circulating, plans to support the removal of older vehicles or the creation of emission zones within cities.