Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ encyclical (LS#211) tells us that individual actions and knowledge matters, “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us”
According to the US EPA, the average US family car generates 4.6 metric tons per year of GHG. With 85 million new passenger vehicles sold globally, those emissions add up here and abroad. The US EPA calculates that the US transportation sector in 2019 accounted for 29% of US GHG. Light duty vehicles(mostly passenger cars) represented 58% of that total, medium and heavy trucks were 24%, and aircraft made up 10%. Overall, it has been estimated that transportation makes up 14% of worldwide GHG emissions and that we need to reduce or sequester 58-75 gigatons of CO2 equivalent from the transportation sector between 2020-2050 to keep climate warming changes to less than 1.5-2 degrees centigrade. Without such actions and changes to the millions of average family cars, GHG emissions will likely have the effect of creating difficult storms, raising ocean levels that harm coastal areas, and ultimately hurting poor people disproportionately more than others.
EVs in 2011 accounted for less than 0.1% of global new car sales. In 2020, EVs represented 4% of passenger car sales, 1% of commercial vehicles and 39% of bus sales. By 2023, one forecaster believes that EVs could be 10% of new global car sales with exponential growth continuing. Therefore, with educationand desire, people are making a difference. If EVs grow to 40-50% of new car sales by 2030, GHG emissions will be greatly reduced. Battery improvements will also help, with future batteries expected to be one-half the weight of today’s batteries and offered at one-half the price by the end of the next 10 years.
Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ concludes (LS#211) by saying, “All of these [daily actions, education and changes] reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings. Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.”