World's automakers fall short on climate goals, says Greenpeace report

Chinese EV manufacturer BYD displays its Seal electric car at the Paris Car Show Monday, October 17, 2022 in Paris.
Chinese EV manufacturer BYD displays its Seal electric car at the Paris Car Show Monday, October 17, 2022 in Paris. © Michel Euler, AP

Major automakers will need to sell about half the number of petrol and diesel vehicles than under current projections to be aligned with key climate goals, Greenpeace said Thursday.


To line up with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, no more than 315 million new vehicles running on fossil fuels can still be sold worldwide, according to a new report from the environmental group.

But at present, major automakers are on track to sell 712 million diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, Greenpeace said, after world leaders met this week in Egypt for a crucial UN climate summit.

Preventing temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is a key goal of the Paris Agreement

The report, by Greenpeace Germany, said there was a "disconnect between traditional automakers' sales targets and the volume of diesel and petrol vehicle sales that is feasible" to meet the goal. 

"Automakers must accelerate their transition to zero-emission vehicles."

The research was conducted by experts from the University of Technology in Sydney and the University of Applied Sciences, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. 

They determined the maximum number of diesel and petrol cars and vans that can be sold to remain compatible with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. 

The researchers then projected future auto industry sales, looking at four major manufacturers: Japan's Toyota, Germany's Volkswagen, South Korea's Hyundai and Kia, as well General Motors of the United States.

Toyota is seen overshooting by the greatest amount, selling between 55 and 71 million vehicles more than is compatible with the crucial climate target, Greenpeace said. 

With pressure growing to cut emissions, top carmakers are already accelerating their efforts to dump combustion engines and shift to producing more electric vehicles. 

Some governments have announced plans to ban new sales of petrol and diesel vehicles, as part of efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions, but many have yet to do so.


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