The Road Ahead: How Do We Move To Cleaner Car Fleets?

Climate Action Tracker Decarbonisation Series

Published: 15/09/2016

In the first of its decarbonisation series, the Climate Action Tracker analysis looks at transport, a sector that is key to achieving the deep cuts in emissions required by the Paris Agreement. In the series, the Climate Action Tracker examines specific sectors, and how emissions can be reduced to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s long term warming limits, namely, to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2˚C, and to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5˚C.

The current analysis shows that if governments were to double fuel economy standards in new passenger cars by 2030, and achieve a 50% electric vehicles (EV) uptake by 2050, for example, then most would get close to—or even reach—a 2˚C warming pathway. The transformation of the passenger transport sector would also have to be accompanied by a decarbonisation of the power sector to ensure the electric vehicles (EV) are truly emissions free.

A 1.5˚C pathway, however, requires additional action. Zero-emission vehicles would likely need to reach a dominant market share by around 2035 for the world to meet the Paris Agreement’s lower warming limit of 1.5˚C—and even that could be too late to avoid the need for significant negative emissions.

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Yvonne Deng
Climate Strategies and Policies
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