France’s new government is making headlines for all the right reasons at the moment, particularly when it comes to doubling-down on its climate advocacy program. Not only is it successfully stealing American climate scientists that are tired of the Trump administration’s science denialism, but it’s also announced bans on oil and gas drilling, and a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
The UK, not willing to be left behind on this particular issue, has now followed suit, announcing that it’s banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles too by the same date. It now joins a growing group of nations that plan to make electric cars the vehicle of the future, including The Netherlands, Norway (2025), Germany, and India (2030).
As reported by BBC News, the primary objective for the initiative is to reduce air pollution, of which traffic is the number one contributor. Previous estimates have shown that 40,000 people in the UK die every single year as a result of complications linked to toxic or abrasive particulates in vehicular exhaust.
The UK government has also announced that $3.9 billion will be spent on a nationwide air quality improvement scheme. Although specifics on this plan are still lacking, the final measures are due to be made publicly available by the end of this month.
The benefits of banning all new hydrocarbon-fueled vehicles are clear to see. Apart from the aforementioned effect on public health, transportation is currently a major contributor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In America, 27 percent of emissions comes from transportation, especially cars. In terms of the entire planet, transportation contributes one-fifth of the total emissions.
Swapping petrol and diesel vehicles for electric ones would have a massive impact on the planet’s efforts to combat unmitigated climate change.
A comprehensive analysis of the top 100 solutions to the climate crisis places electric cars at #26. If, by 2050, 16 percent of car owners used electric cars rather than traditional internal combustion vehicles, nearly 11 billion tonnes of CO2 would be prevented from escaping into the atmosphere.
Although this would cost around $14.2 trillion to implement, ultimately the world would save $9.8 trillion compared to a world in which conventional vehicles still completely dominate the market.
This latest move by the British government is certainly a welcome step in the right direction. Rather wonderfully, there’s a chance that the 2040 deadline may be too conservative. With the breakneck pace of innovation taking place in the electric vehicle industry, there’s a chance that the internal combustion engine could be rendered extinct several years before 2040 – making the ban somewhat unnecessary.
Watch this space.