Growing demand for SUVs 'could negate electric car benefits'

(The Guardian, 14 Nov 2019) Global energy watchdog issues warning in climate forecast for the next two decades.

The world’s thirst for oil will continue to grow over the next two decades, with climate-damaging emissions climbing until at least 2040, the global energy watchdog has warned, pointing the finger at the growing appetite for gas-guzzling cars.

Growing demand for SUVs in the US, China, Europe and elsewhere could negate all the environmental benefits of the increased use of electric cars, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. Because of their size, SUVs are harder to electrify than smaller vehicles.

The IEA’s annual global industry forecast also cited mounting demand for plastic, increasing plane travel and the upcoming population boom in cities across Africa and Asia as key contributing factors in increasing demand for oil.

This year’s World Energy Outlook, used as guidance by oil companies and governments, was released on Wednesday. The watchdog had already revealed some of its findings ahead of publication, warning that a “grand coalition” of governments and investors was needed to end the upward march of record energy emissions rising beyond 2040.

This year’s forecast took a stronger than usual stand on climate change, amid growing pressure from young activists like Greta Thunberg and others for tougher action on emissions.

It celebrates a growing boom in solar and wind power, and urges governments to work together on changing the way we fuel our lives. And it singles out gas-guzzling SUVs for criticism.

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The Guardian, 14 Nov 2019: Growing demand for SUVs 'could negate electric car benefits'