At last year’s climate talks in Marrakech, the global community reaffirmed its commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement objective of limiting world temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving this ambitious goal will require a cross-sector effort, including from the automotive industry. But how we can we cut CO2 emissions from cars in a world in which demand for transport is only going up and up?
Urbanization, combined with strong population growth, will add almost three billion people to cities by 2050, by which point two-thirds of the world’s population will be urban dwellers. At the same time, cities around the world are expected to face a 260% increase in demand for urban transportation by 2050. “Road transportation already accounts for 17% of energy-related global CO2 emissions,” says LeasePlan CEO Tex Gunning. “This figure is only going to go up unless we work together as an industry to bring emissions down.”
260% increase in demand for transport.
Transition to electric
A key element in the race to cut emissions from the automotive sector will be supporting the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) – an increasingly viable option as battery capacity increases, ‘range anxiety’ diminishes and costs of ownership fall below petrol- or diesel-driven vehicles. “EVs are not, however, the only option – hydrogen cars could also be an important part of the mix, as are vehicles with range extenders or hybrids and plug-in hybrids. In the short term, we could also make significant gains by simply switching to more fuel-efficient models or using digital technology to help us drive around our cities more efficiently.” More also needs to be done from a policy perspective, says Tex. "Crucially, we need the implementation of consistent, cost-effective, long-term policies and incentives – especially when it comes to the issue of charging infrastructure – that will help make low-emission vehicles the preferred choice for drivers.
So what’s next?
“Cutting emissions from the automotive sector will require a global multi-stakeholder approach and strong private-public collaboration,” says Tex. “As a responsible company, LeasePlan is therefore committed to playing its part in eliminating emissions from the automotive sector and supporting the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and climate-related Sustainable Development Goals. Our aim is to help create healthier environments in our towns and cities by promoting cleaner, low-emission vehicles and the infrastructure required to make these cars a viable option for our customers.”
Specific actions will include advocating policies that incentivize cleaner, low-emission vehicles, as well as collaborating with partners on sustainable transport initiatives, such as the uberGREEN initiative in Lisbon. “Over the coming years, we’ll also be working with leading OEMs to offer competitive low-emission vehicles to our customers, addressing issues around electric vehicle resale and battery reuse, and ensuring that, when our customers take out a lease, they know what low-emissions options are available to them. In short, as an industry, we have everything it takes to bring down emissions: now we need to act.”