Electric cars to save the planet
Nearly 25% of greenhouse gases are produced by internal combustion vehicles (petrol and diesel). The adoption of new electric means of transport will help to prevent global warming and its devastating consequences.
Scientists insist: climate change is not science fiction. Global warming caused by greenhouse gases is a reality whose effects are already beginning to be felt. An increase of two degrees centigrade with respect to the pre-industrial era (the era when we did not yet burn fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil) can have catastrophic consequences.
The agreements of the last United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-21) held in December 2015, achieved the broadest consensus to date to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent the rise in global temperature, although scientists warn that countries must double their efforts to prevent reaching the feared point of no return before 2050.
“We are suffering the consequences of climate change, but it is never too late to act. And we have an opportunity. The good news is that the technological developments are allowing us to move towards a totally renewable electric system, and investments in clean energies have quintupled around the world,” explains energy expert Raquel Montón from Greenpeace.
It is estimated that 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2, come from diffuse sources; i.e. from the burning of fossil fuels that are not produced, for example, at power plants or industrial facilities. In other words, they come from the transport sector, among others.
“To the extent that we can supply these vehicles with clean energies, electric vehicles can play an important role in the fight against climate change” says Raquel Montón. Additionally, there is a growing interest in and initiatives related to the use of shared vehicles in cities. This will also mean a modal change in the use of private transport that will entail, in the long term, a smaller number of vehicles circulating in our cities.
The replacement of combustion vehicles with electric vehicles is set to become one of the best alternatives for reducing CO2 emissions, the main cause of the greenhouse effect.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) performed over four years in the USA concludes that the adoption of electric vehicles would reduce the consumption of petrol in the country by 60% and would save 30% of all emissions generated by the transport sector. This reduction would be even higher if the electricity produced to charge the vehicles came from renewable sources.
The study also dismantles some of the arguments that disincentive the purchase of an electric car. “Some 90% of the private cars that circulate in the USA could complete their habitual routes with just one daily charge at home or at work”, explains Jessika Trancik, Associate Professor of Energy Studies at the MIT.
According to the International Energy Agency, reducing emissions to prevent a rise of two degrees in the temperature of the planet requires a planetary increase in railway transport and at least 20% of cars to be electric by 2030.
There is good news: the Paris Climate Change Summit reaffirmed the previous Lima-Paris Action Agenda, an initiative promoted by the governments of Peru, France and the United Nations Secretariat. The idea brings together countries, local entities and companies to ensure that 20% of its fleet is electric by 2030. This implies taking 100 million polluting vehicles out of circulation.
Additionally, the Covenant of Mayors is an agreement between thousands of local and regional authorities, which has been joined by numerous Spanish authorities, including Madrid and Barcelona. The voluntary commitment: to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and adopt an integrated approach to tackling the mitigation of climate change.