Electric vehicle sales hit record 2022, IEA says, but more work is needed to bring the world to zero

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Tesla electric cars photographed in Germany on March 21, 2022. Electric vehicle sales are on track to reach an “all-time high” this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Electric vehicle sales are on track to hit an all-time high this year, but more work is needed in other sectors to get the planet on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency said.

In an announcement accompanying the Tracking Clean Energy Progress update, the IEA said there were “encouraging signs of progress in a number of sectors” but warned that “greater efforts” were needed to get the world “on track to net zero emissions” by the middle of this century.

The TCEP, which is published annually, looked at 55 components of the energy system. It focused on 2021 and analyzed the progress of these components as it came to achieving “key medium-term milestones by the end of this decade” as outlined in the Paris-based organization’s net-zero path.

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In terms of EVs, the IEA said global sales had doubled by 2021 to represent nearly 9% of the car market. Looking ahead, 2022 was “expected to see a new record high for electric vehicle sales, raising it to 13% of total light vehicle sales worldwide.”

The IEA has previously stated that sales of electric vehicles in 2021 were 6.6 million. In the first quarter of 2022, sales of electric vehicles reached 2 million, an increase of 75% compared to the first three months of 2021.

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The IEA said both EVs and lighting – where more than 50% of the global market now uses LED technology – are “fully on track for their 2030 milestones” in the 2050 net zero scenario.

Despite the outlook for EVs, the IEA noted separately that they were “not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in developing and emerging countries have been slow due to higher acquisition costs and a lack of availability of charging infrastructure.”

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In general, the rest of the photo is more challenging. The IEA noted that 23 areas were “not on track” and a further 30 more efforts were needed.

Areas that are off track include improving the energy efficiency of building designs, developing clean and efficient district heating, phasing out coal-fired power generation, eliminating methane flaring, shifting aviation and shipping towards cleaner fuels and making cement, chemicals and steel production cleaner,” the IEA said.

The shadow of the 2015 Paris Agreement looms large over the IEA report. Described by the United Nations as a “legally binding international treaty on climate change,” the accord aims “to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.” level”.

Reducing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2050 is considered critical to meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

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In a statement released Thursday, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol appeared cautiously optimistic. “There are more signs than ever that the new global energy economy is moving strongly,” he said.

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“This reaffirms my belief that the current global energy crisis can be a turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and safer energy system,” he added.

“But this new IEA analysis shows the need for greater and sustained efforts across a range of technologies and sectors to ensure the world can meet its energy and climate goals.”

The IEA report comes at a time when the debate and discussion about climate goals and the future of energy has intensified.

This week, the UN secretary general said developed economies should impose an additional tax on the profits of fossil fuel companies, funneling the funds to countries hit by climate change and households struggling with the cost of living crisis. .

Speaking at length to the UN General Assembly in New York, Antonio Guterres described the fossil fuel industry as “enjoying hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits, while household budgets shrink and our planet burns.”

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