Shift to electric cars happening too slowly to avoid “climate catastrophe,” report finds

Major automakers and governments have avowed that the future of cars is electric. And with transportation making up about a quarter of the carbon pollution emitted by humanity, scientists say phasing out gas- and diesel-powered cars is imperative for there to be any hope of avoiding the worst effects of global warming.

But the shift away from fossil-fuel burning cars is happening too slowly to stave off climate catastrophe, according to a report released by Greenpeace this week.

“Leading auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai, are transitioning far too slowly to zero-emission vehicles, which has dangerous consequences for our planet,” Benjamin Stephan, climate campaigner at Greenpeace Germany, said in a statement. “Toyota, Volkswagen and other leading automakers are on a collision course with the climate.”

The researchers calculated how many new gas-guzzlers humanity can afford to put on the roads, assuming that global temperatures are on track to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Keeping global heating below that level is essential to avoid catastrophic effects, including runaway ice melt and sea-level rise, scientists say.


Under that limit, the world’s carmakers can build and sell 315 million gas-burning cars between now and 2050, Greenpeace calculated. However, carmakers have already planned to produce and sell nearly twice that number of gas-burning cars, the group’s analysis found — 645 million to 778 million light-duty vehicles over the next 25 years.

Read more: CBSNews

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