How much CO2 do cars in Europe emit? The decision to ban heat engines should be based on this number, which is very well guarded. We use the conditional for the hypothesis that it is not based only on scientific data, but also on the idea that cars are, indeed they must necessarily be, responsible, if not the only main one, for global warming. A fashion so strong that no one has the courage to oppose it, not the builders (with rare exceptions) nor the politicians and even less those who act as megaphone. At most they ask for more time complaining about the jobs at stake.
It has been said several times that the CO2 emitted by European cars is 1% of the total, without however showing how this number is reached. So many doubt that this is the case and it is understandable, given that a devastating impact on the auto industry should be motivated by many other benefits on the climate. The European Parliament has a page dedicated to «CO2 emissions from cars: numbers and data». It states that “the transport sector is responsible for 30% of total CO2 emissions in Europe, of which 72% comes from road transport alone”. High odds, undoubtedly. Cars? Even worse: “They are among the most polluting vehicles, considering that they generate 60.7% of total CO2 emissions.” Apart from the fact that these are not pollutants but climate-altering (Parliament knows, but who reads?), The attached infographic clarifies that that 60.7% refers to emissions from transport, the initial 30%.
Up to now, percentages and even high, but of what? How much CO2 does the EU emit? The European Parliament on the page, in spite of the title, does not say it: better to leave only the percentages to the readers. Fortunately, on the website of the European Environment Agency, an EU agency, www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/data-viewers/greenhouse-gases-viewer there are all the statistics. Let’s take those of 2019. Transportation emitted 0.825 gt (billions of tons) of CO2, of which 60.7% of the cars would be 0.501 gt. Now we just have to weigh this half billion on total world emissions: how many are there? The EEA does not say this, of course, but according to the International Energy Agency there were around 50 gt in 2019. This explains the 1% and this explains why it is so difficult to find the data and why no one ever brings it back to support the stop to thermal cars. CO2 emissions in Europe are falling, but outside they are increasing by 1% every three years. Just three years to make the benefit of the destruction of the European automotive industry useless. Stopping thermal cars in 2035 is not wrong because it sacrifices jobs. It’s just a useless thing, carried on out of fashion and tolerated out of cowardice.