Ecologist journal: The unsustainability of the electric car

The only viable option for carbophobes is significant degrowth (their term) according to this article. With present delusional plans to control global warming the numbers just don’t add up for ‘greenhouse gas’ obsessives, so even greater futile sacrifices are demanded.
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Shifting to electric vehicles while maintaining current travelling habits will not deliver emissions reductions required by the European Green Deal and Paris Agreement.

The European Green Deal sets ambitious targets for decarbonising the European economy.

This includes a European Commission proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, with the European Parliament’s Environment Committee demanding a more ambitious 60 percent cut.

The EGD also calls for the EU to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

For their part, environmentalists and scientists call for even more ambitious cuts, of at least 65 percent by 2030, if we are to meet the objective of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2⁰C.

Consequences

But what does reducing greenhouse gas emissions by this magnitude actually mean? How do we change an economy like the European one that depends on fossil fuels for more than 70 percent of its energy?

What is a decarbonised society and how do its trade, transportation and cities function? Are the policies that we find in political discourse – electric cars, public transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy systems, etc – sufficient to achieve these objectives?

In order to answer these questions, we used the simulations of our MEDEAS-World integrated assessment model.

MEDEAS-World is an energy-economy-environment model based on biophysical economics, which goes beyond the simplistic capital-labour duality of classical economics by giving energy a central place in the economy.

This allows us to estimate the future consequences of the decarbonisation policies we choose.

Reduction

Although the results of MEDEAS-World are global in scope, they help us to visualise the magnitude of the problem and its key points for the European Union.

Moreover, the models we are currently developing as part of the follow-up LOCOMOTION project are geographically more sensitive and allow more detailed analysis at the national and EU levels, as well as for other regions of the world.

In a study we recently published in a peer-reviewed journal, we focused on one of the most critical sectors of the energy transition: transport, whose greenhouse gas emissions need to fall by 90 percent by 2050, according to the European Green Deal.

The results show that the scenario with a high concentration of electric vehicles (‘EV-high’), which bets on wide-scale electrification but does not change our current mobility patterns only manages to reduce by 15 percent the greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050.

This is far from the goal we set for this study – an 80 percent reduction compared to current emissions – but is significantly better than what we would achieve if we continue with present trends, since, in that case, global emissions would increase by 20 percent.

Ambitious

A second, more ambitious scenario is ‘E-bike’, which models a radical change in mobility where cars are largely removed in favour of electric motorcycles (60 percent), electric bicycles (20 percent) and non-motorised modes (eight percent), with only 12 percent of private vehicles being electric four-wheelers by 2050.

Despite these ambitious changes in mobility, the reduction in emissions by 2050 would only be 30 percent compared with current values.

This is partly due to the difficulties encountered by freight transport, aviation and shipping in finding electric alternatives, but above all, it is due to the rebound effect caused by the dynamics of economic growth.

In order to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions (which is 10 percent lower than that envisioned in the European Green Deal), we have to design a scenario where, in addition to the measures outlined in ‘E-bike’, we add a drastic reduction in demand for transport (especially air transport), combined with a stabilisation of world economic activity at a level 23 percent lower than present.

This ‘Degrowth’ scenario is the only one we found to be compatible with ambitious decarbonisation and realistic technological development paths.

Repercussions

This is because if economic activity continues to grow, energy demand will almost inevitably rise too, as the complete decoupling of economic activity from energy consumption has not occurred and is unlikely to occur in the future, as research has repeatedly shown.

This means that it will be impossible to achieve the emissions reduction targets necessary to limit global warming, unless we rely on the very unrealistic hypotheses of the tech-optimists that are far removed from current technical reality, or unless the economic framework changes completely.

The MEDEAS-World simulations also show that, if recycling rates do not grow enormously by 2050, the reserves of copper, lithium, nickel and manganese in existing mines will be exhausted and much of the depletion will be due to the batteries required by electric vehicles.

Digging new mines, which the EU is planning to do more of in Europe now, will have devastating repercussions on water, biodiversity and the human rights of local communities.

All this paints a very different scenario to the ones described in most political speeches.

Full article here.

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October 5, 2020 at 05:57AM

Author: uwe.roland.gross

Don`t worry there is no significant man- made global warming. The global warming scare is not driven by science but driven by politics. Al Gore and the UN are dead wrong on climate fears. The IPCC process is a perversion of science.