Less than two years ago, the UK announced its intentions to make its transportation fully electric by 2040, banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by that time. But government advisers will reportedly recommend moving that deadline up, possibly as much as a decade.
Multiple UK news outlets are reporting the recommended acceleration of the deadline, which is soon to be unveiled by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change.
According to the BBC, the committee believes electric cars will cost around the same as diesel and petrol cars by 2024-25, and sees 2030 as a “feasible” date to ban sales of ICE cars. Setting an earlier date would do more to ensure diesel and petrol cars are off the road by 2050, when the UK government is aiming for zero carbon emissions in total.
There are however, a few questions about hitting that 2030 target. The committee is unsure if enough cobalt can be mined at that point to produce the necessary amount of batteries.
Additionally, there are concerns about having enough charging stations in place by that time. So the final recommendation from the committee could end up being 2035 “at the latest.”
Less than a year ago, the UK introduced a 46-point plan to get its transportation sector to zero emissions by 2040, so that may get an update if the government agrees with the committee’s findings.
Other countries have set similar targets. France is also aiming to be zero emissions by 2040. Israel, Ireland, and The Netherlands are all aiming for 2030. Norway has the most ambitious target of all — 2025 — and it’s setting the pace right now.
London introduced its Ultra Low Emission Zone in April, but most recent cars can avoid the daily charge in that area, including petrol and diesel vehicles.
As noted, other countries have set zero emission targets for 2030 (or earlier), so the UK’s consideration of adopting the same measures doesn’t seem drastic to us at all. The committee believes the timeline is “feasible,” and we’d be inclined to agree.
Setting targets for zero emissions in transportation is the same as with setting targets for climate and renewable energy. You make them ambitious for a reason — to spur action. And if the moved-up timeline seems realistic to those who have done the analysis and put in the work on the subject, there’s really no reason not to accelerate the process. More countries should be doing the same.
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