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Electric Vehicle Sales More Than Doubled in 2017
The report, Global EV Outlook 2018, gave a summary of the state of EVs today and estimated their progress through 2030.
It found that more than one million EVs were sold in 2017, raising the total number of hybrid or electric cars on the road to more than three million. That's a 54 percent increase compared to 2016's sales, an IEA press release reported.
Half of those cars were sold in China, the largest EV market in the world. Electric car sales in China rose 72 percent in 2017 to nearly 580,000 cars. The U.S. saw the second largest number of total EV sales in 2017, at around 280,000 cars sold. German and Japan both made important progress, doubling EV sales from 2016.
When it comes to market share of EV sales, however, the nordic countries took the lead. Thirty-nine percent of new car sales in Norway were electric cars in 2017, the highest percentage of any country. Iceland followed at 12 percent with Sweden coming in third at six.
The report found that government policies supporting EV vehicles had been essential for the boost in sales.
"The main markets by volume (China) and sales share (Norway) have the strongest policy push," the IEA said, according to AFP.
Helpful policies included public procurement programs, financial incentives for purchasing EVs and tougher air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards.
The report also found that the lowered cost and improved efficiency of lithium-ion batteries helped drive growth, though more work needs to be done on both fronts to increase the appeal of EVs.
When it comes to the future growth of the EV market, the report found that government policies could continue to make a big difference.
The report ran two scenarios: the IEA New Policies Scenario, based on current government policies and countries' commitments under the Paris agreement, and the EV30@30 Scenario, based on an estimation of what would happen if governments worldwide adopted the EV 30@30 campaign launched by the Clean Energy Ministerial calling on member countries to make EVs account for 30 percent of vehicles sold by 2030.
Under the New Policies Scenario, the number of EVs would reach 125 million by 2030, but under the EV30@30 Scenario, that number could rise to 220 million.
The EV30@30 Scenario was also better for the global fight against climate change, nearly doubling the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided compared to the New Policies Scenario if the electric grid does not also switch to renewable energy sources. If the grid did "decarbonize," the emissions avoided under the EV30@30 would be four times the emissions avoided under the New Policies Scenario.
However, the report found one humanitarian and environmental challenge with the growth of EVs: the use of cobalt and other rare metals for batteries. As the press release notes, 60 percent of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Humans rights groups have raised concerns over the working conditions for miners in the conflict-heavy country, AFP reported. But the EV30@30 Scenario could increase the demand for cobalt 25 times by 2030, the report found.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future
We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.
"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.
One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.
Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.
Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.
These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.
We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).
We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.
We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.
Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.
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