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The world’s largest automakers will build 400 million more cars than the 1.5C climate goal will allow

The world’s largest automakers will build 400 million more cars than the 1.5C climate goal will allow

A study has found that the world’s largest automakers are planning to build about 400 million more diesel and petrol cars than is sustainable to contain global heating.

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the University of Applied Sciences of Industry in Bergisch Gladbach and Greenpeace Germany compared the rate at which the world needs to adopt zero-emissions vehicles with the rate at which major automakers plan to produce different models.

The report, which focused on 12 automakers globally, showed that some of Australia’s most popular brands – Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia – were on track to produce far more petrol and diesel cars than would be sustainable if the world were to be limited. Global heating on the Paris climate agreement target is 1.5°C.

The researchers calculated the global carbon budget – how much carbon the world could still emit and stay within the 1.5°C envelope – using a climate model developed by UTS that came up with a figure of 53 gigatons.

The 53 gigatonne carbon budget allows for an additional 315 million ICE to be sold [internal combustion engine] vehicles as of 2022″.

Meanwhile, however, ICE’s projected sales range between at least 645 million and 778 million vehicles. This represents an excess of 105% to 147% compared to the 1.5°C compliant ICE sales number.”

Automakers around the world are turning to electric cars, with companies such as Volvo, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz planning to stop making gasoline engines, some by 2025.

The report found that Toyota was expected to produce 63 million more petrol and diesel vehicles than was sustainable, followed by Volkswagen with 43 million, and Hyundai with 39 million.

Sven Teske, associate professor at UTS University and co-author of the report, said the research showed there was a need for a global ban on new gasoline vehicles after 2030.

“By 2030 at the latest, all new cars sold on the market should be electric,” Teske said.

Dr Robin Smit, director of Transport Energy/Emission Research who was not involved in the report, said Australia has become a market for heavy and thirsty SUVs.

“The persistent and increasing proportion of large and heavy passenger vehicles in road fleets on roads around the world and especially in Australia has a detrimental impact on energy efficiency and global greenhouse gas emissions,” Smit said.

And Australia’s worst automaker, Toyota, was Australia’s most famous automaker.

Lindsey Souttar, a prominent Greenpeace campaigner, said the company has fallen behind in adopting zero-emissions cars, and its global lobbying efforts have halted policies to encourage change.

“What the report showed and what we found is that Toyota is the worst performer in the group,” she said. “The report shows that they are the least on track among the Big Four in Australia.”

Sator said other companies such as Volkswagen had campaigned for better policy in Australia “which is a positive”, although they still need to do more.

A Toyota Australia spokesperson said in a statement that the company was “Australia’s largest supplier of hybrid vehicles with more than 300,000 vehicles sold since 2001”.

“Toyota is not limited to one technical solution,” the spokesperson said. “We remain fully committed to providing our customers with a wide variety of vehicles and technologies, including [battery electric vehicles]This will help them on their journey to zero emissions based on their individual driving conditions, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

A Toyota Australia spokesperson said it “welcomes” the introduction of a mandatory CO2 emissions standard in new cars “that supports the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement”.

Speaking of Australia specifically, a spokesperson for Volkswagen Group Australia said the company plans to bring several new battery electric vehicle models to Australia.

“While Volkswagen Group Australia this year secured production approval for a range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, it is being sourced from Europe, where demand is outstripping supply,” the spokesperson said.

And although progress has finally been made, Australia is still far behind other developed countries in creating the conditions for electric vehicles. Setting an emissions target for car importers will ensure greater supply of affordable electric vehicles and enable mass market importers to meet demand.”

Hyundai Australia has been contacted for comment.

Biyad Jafari, of the Council on Electric Vehicles, said the demand for carbon-neutral cars was “absolutely there” but that customers had to buy petrol cars due to a short supply.

“The reality is that every electric car coming here has been sold and sold six months before it arrived,” Jafari said. “Car companies will point to all of their gasoline cars as an indicator of customer demand, but they don’t tell you that people go to dealerships and order electric cars every day.”

Al-Jaafari said that since Australia has been late in converting its fleet of cars to electric vehicles, and because the average life of a vehicle is nearly 20 years, the government must act quickly to meet its international emissions commitments.

“The question is how much of the burden are we putting on every other sector?” He said. “How much more will farmers, industry and other sectors have to cut their emissions to compensate for the fact that some car companies want to make more money now?”


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