If we want to solve climate change, there’s no other option.
By Emily Atkin
August 20, 2018
Germany was supposed to be a model for solving global warming. In 2007, the country’s government announced that it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2020. This was the kind of bold, aggressive climate goal scientists said was needed in all developed countries. If Germany could do it, it would prove the target possible.
So far, Germany has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 27.7 percent—an astonishing achievement for a developed country with a highly developed manufacturing sector. But with a little over a year left to go, despite dedicating $580 billion toward a low-carbon energy system, the country “is likely to fall short of its goals for reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions,” Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. And the reason for that may come down not to any elaborate solar industry plans, but something much simpler: cars.
“At the time they set their goals, they were very ambitious,” Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations’ top climate change official, told Bloomberg. “What happened was that the industry—particularly the car industry—didn’t come along.”
Changing the way we power our homes and businesses is certainly important. But as Germany’s shortfall shows, the only
way to achieve these necessary, aggressive emissions reductions to combat global warming is to overhaul the gas-powered automobile and the culture that surrounds it. The only question left is how to do it.