Researchers at Kyushu University have found that Japan’s plan to stop selling gas vehicles by 2035 and switch solely to hybrids and electric cars might not sufficiently lower the country’s CO2 emissions to reach its decarbonization goals. In fact, emissions could briefly rise.
Their analysis revealed that alongside this plan, the Japanese government must simultaneously boost clean energy production, decarbonize manufacturing, and extend vehicle lifespans.
To tackle the climate crisis, many countries have adopted policies to reduce CO2 emissions, including banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Japan aims to ban new gas vehicles by 2035, only selling electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles.
However, Professor Shigemi Kagawa from Kyushu University’s Faculty of Economics warns that this may not be enough to achieve Japan’s decarbonization goals.
The team looked at a car’s entire lifespan, from resource extraction to disposal, to determine its CO2 emissions. They identified several areas needing attention, including decarbonizing the supply chain, improving the energy mix, and extending vehicle lifespans.
Building a car is energy-intensive, generating CO2 at every stage. EV construction can emit 1.5 to 2 times more than gas cars if the supply chain isn’t decarbonized.
Shifting Japan’s energy mix to renewables is crucial. In 2020, 76% was fossil fuels and 20% renewables. Even with EVs, charging with fossil fuels still emits CO2.
Japan’s 2030 energy mix aims for 50% fossil fuels and 28% renewables, inadequate for CO2 reduction. To meet decarbonization goals, Japan should follow the IEA’s 10% fossil fuels and 88% renewables mix.
Extending vehicle lifespans can significantly reduce CO2 emissions. A one-year extension for cars from 1993 to 2050 could cut 90 Mt of CO2 emissions. Extending lifespans by 10 years could reduce over 600 Mt.
The team urges Japan to implement these policies to combat the climate crisis effectively and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Efforts like driving less and keeping cars longer can help individually, but government subsidies and manufacturer initiatives are necessary. The right policies are crucial for a better future.
🚗⚡️ Japan’s plan to ban gas cars by 2035 may not be enough to slash CO2 emissions, warns Kyushu University study. Learn more: #ClimateAction #CO2Reduction #Decarbonization