There's a long road ahead if climate change is going to be kept in check. Many countries and car companies indicated they were planning to eliminate gasoline cars by 2050, but a new study by Climate Action Tracker suggests a need for more immediate results.
Their study says new gasoline cars need to be removed from production by 2035 if countries and corporations want to achieve the goals set at the 2015 Paris Climate Change conference. This height sense of emergency is not unjustified, as world wide temperatures have risen over a degree in Celsius since the pre-Industrial era. Current efforts to circumvent climate change are focused on preventing a two degree increase, which could prove disastrous for many currently uninhabitable environments.
A major factor in the timeline is the effect of public transformation on fossil fuel consumption. Automobiles are the correctly considered the primary culprit of excessive fossil fuel use, but public transportation systems emit as much as 14 percent of greenhouse gas emission. Those projections were under the assumption that the last fossil fuel vehicles would be on the road until 2050. Electric cars have proven a popular alternative, but the CAT study also proposes cars that run on hydrogen as an additional alternative.
Alternatively powered cars have been gaining traction, and a number of companies have been taking steps forward to push a more environmentally friendly product. Business Insider notes that competition between companies is mounting, as Tesla plans to release its Model 3 sedan, while the Chevy Bolt is expected to be on sale before the end of 2016. Looking even further ahead, Toyota and Honda are developing hydrogen-powered cars, with Toyota hoping to have its Mirai model on sale by 2020. The biggest hurdle to overcome, though, is price. Development costs on these cars can be expensive, and the cost of doing business means a higher price tag. For the average consumer, that extra money can be difficult to justify, or even afford in the first place.
The world is closing in on the point where the effects of climate change are starting to become visible and personal. For decades, society has seen images of polar bears floating on small pieces of ice, but there's a lack of a connection that's needed to spur change. An article in Vanity Fair, however, cites Miami Beach as an example of something that could directly impact humans as early as the mid-21st century. Rising water levels, spurred by climate change, could leave the city inhospitable, or, at the very least, leave a significant portion of it underwater. Other cities on coastlines, as well as many inhabited islands, face similar existential threats. Speeding up the process towards fossil fuel-free automobiles is something that's been a long time coming, and something that can't be put off any longer.