50% fuel reduction plan ‘too little too late’

March 12, 2009

A group of international environment and transport agencies has issued a plan to cut fuel consumption from the average car by 50% by 2050. T&E says the plan is ‘too little too late’ and the numbers do not add up.

The ’50 by 50’ Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) has been launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Transport Forum (ITF) and FIA Foundation (motorsports), and timed to coincide with this month’s Geneva motor show. It describes itself as a roadmap towards greater global fuel economy that would halve EU greenhouse gas emissions from cars by achieving annual savings of six billion barrels of oil and 2 gigatonnes of CO2 ­equivalent. It sets out a path to a reduction in fuel consumption per kilometre of 50% by 2050, ­ with intermediate goals in 2020 and 2030 – in line with suggestions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But T&E director Jos Dings said: ‘It’s a positive initiative, but too little too late. Over the next 40 years, global mobility is likely to more than double – possibly triple – compared with today’s level. If cars are made 50% more efficient, and the progress with trucks, ships and aircraft is even less, global transport emissions will still increase.  But we need an 80% overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 which requires a doubling of fuel efficiency by 2020, not 2050.’

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