A huge and growing discrepancy between air quality targets for European cars and their roadway performance is imperiling the European Union’s ability to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“In 2001, the real emissions of new European cars exceeded the official ones by an average of 8%,” Resilience.org reports, citing data from the International Council on Clean Transportation. “In 2013, this discrepancy was already at 25%, to reach an incredible 40% in 2015.”
While new revelations in the Volkswagen emissions scandal are piling up by the day, Kliemann points to a deeper problem: that the big, global automakers “are doomed to grow or die, which is disastrous in either case.” VW’s troubles are shining a light on Germany’s dependence on an industry that directly or indirectly produces one in seven of the country’s jobs. Yet “over the last 10 years, global car production has almost doubled from 44,554,268 in 2004 to 87,037,611 in 2014. According to recent projections, the total number of cars on earth will increase from 1.2 billion in 2014 to about two billion in 2035.”
Technological solutions won’t be enough to offset the environment and social impacts of that growth, she writes, partly because “on average, the production of a car causes as many emissions as its (petrol-fuelled) usage over its whole lifetime.”