Transportation is responsible for 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emission and a new study has found that in order to reach global warming goals—set by world leaders last year—the last fossil fuel car would have to be sold by 2035. The report, which has been backed up by three European research groups, spotlights the importance of transitioning to clean electric cars. Last December, world leaders met in Paris to discuss the climate and rising temperature. Collectively, members attending the summit set a goal: to limit rising temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above temperatures during the pre-industrial era.
"We calculate that the last gasoline/diesel car will have to be sold by roughly 2035," the CAT report said, adding that it assumes fuel-based vehicles will be on the road until 2050. The findings of this report are significant, as most car makers do not intent to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. Toyota, for example, intends to reduce emissions by 90 percent (from 2010 levels) by 2050.
"It's striking that it's so early—it means a huge change in the whole automobile industry," NewClimate Institute’s Niklas Höhne told Reuters.
Already, many experts are concerned that reaching the more ambitious goal—limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius—is near impossible. Reaching this goal would require swift action and sophisticated technology that can efficiently capture carbon.
"Electric vehicles are still more expensive to purchase than other cars, and policy projections still only see a share of around five percent of electric vehicles in the total European Union, China and U.S. fleets by 2030," the report said.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), transportation accounted for 26 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. “Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes,” writes the EPA. “Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel.”