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Second only to electric power globally since 2010, sport utility vehicle (SUV) sales have spiked and they are now contributing hugely to the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In addition, global fuel economy worsened caused in part by the rising SUV demand even as efficiency improvements in smaller cars saved over 2 million barrels a day and electric cars displaced less than 100,000 barrels a day.
Why This Matters: This is a big double whammy on efforts to curb CO2 emissions and decrease the demand for fossil fuels for cars. The IEA called the SUV emissions “nothing short of surprising” and the global trend a “dramatic shift towards bigger and heavier cars.” In order to get vehicle emissions under control, and increase the use of electric vehicles, car manufacturers and governments will need to confront this inconvenient truth about the “universal” preference for SUVs. As the authors note “[b]igger and heavier cars, like SUVs, are harder to electrify and growth in their rising demand may slow down the development of clean and efficient car fleets.”
SUVs by the Numbers
The percentage of SUVs on the road all over the world has doubled in the last 10 years. By the numbers:
there are now over 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010;
SUVs account for 60% of the increase in the global car fleet since 2010; and
around 40% of annual car sales today are SUVs, compared with less than 20% a decade ago.
globally the fleet of SUVs’ emissions have grown by nearly 0.55 Gt CO2 during the last decade to roughly 0.7 Gt CO2
SUVs were the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010 after the power sector
Gas Demand Rising Due to SUV Growth
Global fuel economy declined due to the rising SUV demand since the beginning of the decade despite the fact that efficiency improvements in smaller cars saved over 2 million barrels a day and increased the use of electric cars displaced oil as well. SUVs use significantly more gas than medium-size cars.
North Carolina Coastal Federation has a nature-based plan for dealing with heavy rainfall that captures and filters water instead. Green infrastructure includes solutions like rain gardens, restoring wetlands, and permeable pavement. The state plan calls for comprehensive incorporation of nature-based stormwater strategies across roadways, farmland, and in new building construction.
Why This Matters: It’s not just sea-level rise that causes increased flooding and infrastructure damage: heavy rains can be just as disruptive. Using plants, dirt, and other natural ways to handle excess water is often simpler and more cost-effective than their conventional counterparts.
The world is becoming more and more like The Matrix every day, at least in one particular way: scientists have figured out how to use the human body as a battery. No, your body can’t produce enough energy to create a global simulation, but it can produce enough heat to charge wearable devices like smartwatches and implants like pacemakers.
Why This Matters: Battery production and disposal have been problematic for decades. Mining for rare earth metals like such as cadmium, mercury, lead, and lithium threatens environments and communities across the globe.
by Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business, World Wildlife Fund After a year of unprecedented devastation and loss, the arrival of 2021 has shown us at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Our top priority remains the immediate health and safety of our fellow citizens, but we […]
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