Nearly all major car companies are sabotaging EV transition, and Japan is worst, study finds

May 17, 2024
Traffic jam. Blurred silhouettes of cars surrounded by steam from the exhaust pipes. Environmental pollution

A damning new report has shown that nearly all major car companies are actively sabotaging the world’s efforts to avoid catastrophic global warming. The lobbying strategies being used by the world’s largest automakers are putting global climate targets at risk and threatening the electric vehicle transition, according to the new report released by InfluenceMap.

Titled Automakers and Climate Policy Advocacy, the report provides analysis on the anti-EV lobbying activities of 15 of the world’s largest automakers in seven key regions around the world. The study uses industry-standard data from S&P Global Mobility on automakers’ forecast electric vehicle production.

In addition to scoring automakers on their climate policy sabotage, InfluenceMap also found the industry’s own EV production forecasts fail to meet the IEA’s (International Energy Agency) updated 1.5°C scenario of 66% EV market share by 2030.

The report says Japanese automakers are the least prepared for the EV transition and have the most active, strategic engagement against it.

This latest global report follows another damning report in 2023 by InfluenceMap which through FOI requests revealed the behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to water down and delay pro-EV policies in Australia.

Negative lobbying “a key barrier to climate policy”

Aside from Tesla, only Mercedes and BMW have EV production forecasts that align with the IEA’s updated 1.5°C scenario which requires 66% of all new car sales to be EVs by 2030.

“Toyota, with a Performance Band score of D, remains the lowest-scoring company and is found to be driving opposition to climate rules in multiple regions.” says the report.

“In regulatory comments submitted in 2023, Toyota advocated to weaken GHG emissions standards in the US and Australia, engaged against stringent zero-emission vehicle mandates in Canada and the UK. Globally, in 2023- 24, multiple climate policies for light-duty vehicles have been weakened following industry pressure.”

“This includes US greenhouse gas emission standards and Australia’s fuel efficiency standards.”


Auto industry groups driving opposition to climate regulation

The report says that auto industry lobby groups are sabotaging policies designed to decarbonise passenger vehicles.

“An analysis of climate policy advocacy in seven key regions (Australia, EU, India, Japan, South Korea, UK and the US) finds that auto associations are leading efforts to delay and weaken key climate rules for light-duty vehicles.”

“In the US, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation has led opposition to ambitious fuel economy (CAFE) and GHG emissions standards, while in Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) led a strategic campaign to weaken fuel efficiency standards.”

“Of the eight automotive industry associations included in this study, every automaker (except Tesla), remains a member of at least two of these groups, with most automakers a member of at least five of these associations globally.”

Growing SUV sales responsible for increased transport emissions

InfluenceMap says higher SUV and light truck production, and automakers’ push for policies to promote them, is a growing climate problem.

“The shift towards larger and less efficient vehicles has led to higher CO2 emissions, with SUVs’ oil consumption accounting for one-third of global oil demand growth between 2021 and 2022.” says InfluenceMap.

The think tank says despite the higher emissions that come with diesel powered SUV and light-commercials, production of these types of vehicles is forecast to grow rapidly from 57% of all light vehicles in 2020 to 64% by 2030.

“Each automaker analysed in this report, excluding Tata Motors, is forecasted to produce a higher combined proportion of such vehicles by 2030 as compared to 2020. InfluenceMap has also found evidence of automakers continuing to influence regulations to favour SUV and light-truck sales over smaller vehicles, such as in Australia.”

Fossil lobby undermining Australia’s efforts to decarbonise light vehicles

Nowhere has the fossil car lobby’s influence over public policy been more evident than in Australia.

After the Australian government announced its intention to introduce a new vehicle efficiency standard in February (Russia being the only other developed country in the world yet to have such a standard), the Australian fossil car lobby (FCAI) launched a scare campaign to weaken the proposed standard.

The FCAI was successful in watering down the standard resulting in allowing the industry to produce an additional 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to the original proposal.

This was despite overwhelming evidence showing the devastating impact that vehicle exhaust pollution has on human health and climate, as well as polling showing overwhelming support for the original proposed standard.

In addition to increasing new vehicle emissions thresholds, the FCAI also successfully lobbied the government to re-categorise luxury SUVs into as “light commercial class” including such vehicles as the Mercedes AMG-G 63 (price range $180,000 to $350,000), and the Lexus LX (around $200,000).

The active sabotage of efforts to mitigate catastrophic global warming by the fossil car lobby were shown to be even more damning this week after a report from the Guardian showed that most IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scientists expect the global warming to “blast past the 1.5C target”.

It also found that almost 80% of scientists expect a rise of at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels which is considered a catastrophic level of heating.


Republished from THE DRIVEN, May 14, 2024

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