It genuinely is now or never

A new report issued on Monday by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of a grim future that could materialize as early as 2040 if the world doesn’t cut its output of greenhouse gases massively.

An important element of this seemingly impossible turnover is the swift move towards complete electrification of our means of transport. The report, which was commisioned by the members of the Paris agreement, offers a much more dreary view on the near future of our planet and of our species unless we take action and drastically change our ways at a never-before-seen rate.

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New Climate Report Outlines Catastrophe Without Electrification
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We always knew it was coming. That, one day, the industrialization of the human species will catch up to it and kick it in the head.

But most never imagined that the really dreadful by-product of industrialization, which is pollution, will come to get us so quickly. Well, an alarming report released by the group of scientists assigned by the United Nations to research the effects of global warming and to predict how things will evolve in this regard is about to change what we believe is the moment when it’s "too late" to take action.

“It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report quoted by the New York Times. Basically, the report denies previous claims that the dangerous temperature growth threshold is at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the preindustrial levels. Instead, dangerous and irreversible natural phenomena may occur by 2040 when the temperature will have risen by only 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit over the preindustrial levels.

According to the New York Times, "to prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100% by 2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1 and 7%. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20% of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67%." This drastically fast shift is quoted in the report as having "no documented historic precedent."

New Climate Report Outlines Catastrophe Without Electrification
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However, the authors of the report say this isn’t impossible, as the NY Times states that "they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely. For instance, the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions — perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100 — would be required. But such a move would be almost politically impossible in the United States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China."

This is at a time when the U.S. stands by its desire to exit from the Paris agreement, which is a position that was reiterated by the State Department delegation, although the delegation accepted the report's summary.

"We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms that are better for the American people,” is what a statement by the delegation reads.

But, if a change is to happen, a big part of it is the switch from transportation powered by fossil fuels to EVs. "The electrification of urban systems, including transport, has shown global progress since AR5 (the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report released by the same board of UN scientists in 2014). High growth rates are now appearing in electric vehicles, electric bikes, and electric transit, which would need to displace fossil-fuel powered passenger vehicles by 2035–2050 to remain in line with 1.5-degree C-consistent pathways."

The report also underlines that "in cities where private vehicle ownership is expected to increase, less carbon-intensive fuel sources and reduced car journeys will be necessary as well as electrification of all modes of transport."

This sounds like something which is not foreseeable in such a short time-span.

Especially since there’s still a lot of money to be made from coal and fossil fuels and people that are willing to gamble the future of their own countries and of the planet as a whole in an attempt to secure their immediate well-being.

In the end, if the path isn’t changed as quickly as possible, the financial toll of drastic climate changes (wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs, floods, the dangerous rise of sea levels, and much more) that could occur in under three decades is roughly $54 trillion and could grow to $69 trillion as the atmosphere warms by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. "Human activities have caused warming of about 1.8 degrees since about the 1850s, the beginning of large-scale industrial coal burning, the report found," the report concludes.

Further Reading

Trump Moves To Pull Out From Paris Climate Accord; Elon Musk Quits Advisory Council
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Trump Moves To Pull Out From Paris Climate Accord; Elon Musk Quits Advisory Council.

Owning an All-Electric Car in New York is About to Get Easier
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Read more emissions news.

Source: Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert -
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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