CO2 emissions from cars have decreased dramatically, thanks to EU commission leadership.
It’s funny to read how the automotive industry talks about their ‘achievements’ in reducing CO2. The same industry that was lobbying a few years ago for less stringent targets.
This is how the British motor industry talks about it:
‘The performance was the result of huge investment in advanced low CO2-emitting technologies by industry and was also influenced by consumers’ increasing prioritisation of improved fuel efficiency in their purchasing decisions.’ - From this report.
What industry often fails to mention is how the EU commission pushed for a target of 95gCO2/km by 2020. And consumers making purchasing decisions based on CO2 was thanks to the EU commission mandating transparency. Keep in mind that all cars have to disclose the magic metric (gCO2/km) at point of sale and advertising, as well as taxation being higher for the poorer performers.
The combination of these policies has pushed car manufacturers to compete on reducing tailpipe emissions. It has also accelerated the roadmap of innovation that was buried or incipient in the supply chain eg. Lightweight materials, auto start-stop, brake energy recovery.
The key lessons of this story for me are:
* Well crafted regulation generates innovation.
* Innovations are often buried in universities, small startups or companies down the supply chain, and they won’t appear if the incumbents don’t make money adopting them, or aren’t pushed to adopt them.
* Industry will always lobby for the minimum common denominator at the beginning, and take the credit after the EU commission has had the guts to bring legislation.
* We could replicate this model to buildings quite easily across Europe.