One could lose hope. The climate crisis is very real but we run the risk of battling delusional distractions. In the UK one could be forgiven for thinking that the criminalisation of a refugee dinghy or a Coronation protest placard was the pinnacle of meaningful legislative success. Meanwhile in the US, Florida presidential wannabe, Ron DeSantis, goes to war with Mickey Mouse and ‘woke’ sustainability campaigners. Of course, Texas may as well be at war with so many mass- killings in recent days but their Governor Greg Abbott doesn’t want us to focus on the guns or the neo-Nazi leanings of the killers. In fact, he has just pledged to immediately pardon soldier, Daniel Perry, after his sentencing this week to 25 years prison for the murder of a Black Lives Matter protestor in 2020. WTF.
Maybe CNN will give murderer Perry a town hall platform? Or, maybe they’ll just stick with a former multi-accused President joking about sexual assault. You could scream, rather than laugh like the CNN audience last night, but then something else brought a smile to my face. Mark Hulbert writing in the excellent Callaway Climate Insights newsletter pointed out that Florida and Texas residents are paying an extra $803 and $1,170 respectively for homeowner insurance because of “woke” climate change risks. The risk and the cost is real, as is the irony. Supposed MAGA champions of capitalism, Ron and Greg, are being exposed by….. the free market. In fact, markets might be our best hope for climate survival. We all know about the future shift to electric vehicle (EV) usage but did you know that the future is pretty much now? There seems to have been a ‘tipping point’ in EV market penetration and the numbers are staggering.
Sustainability expert, Hannah Ritchie, has written this week that EV is scaling on a similar exponential trajectory to that experienced by solar energy(PV). And, for those who know the horrible track-record of solar energy forecasters, Hannah is politely telling us that the International Energy Agency (IEA) is playing catch-up again on EV growth forecasts. As an illustration, last year the IEA forecast 21% of all car sales in 2030 would be EVs. Just one year later, and that forecast has been increased to 36%. Clearly, the combination of supportive government policy and technology is generating earlier-than-expected confidence for consumers. Check out the following data highlights;
- Almost one-in-five cars(18%) purchased in 2023 will be electric(EV). That number was 4% in 2020.
- The IEA thinks EVs will be 23% of new car sales in 2025. I think the IEA will be wrong, again.
- The fossil-fear fluffers Donnie, Ron and Greg may not be happy but the IEA has changed its view on the US market. Last year the 2030 EV sales forecast was 22% of all cars sold. The new forecast is 50%!
- China is the market to watch. 2030 IEA forecasts suggest 62% of all cars bought will be EVs. China accounted for 60% of all EVs sold worldwide in 2022.
- EV market share of new sales in China could hit 30% this year. A price war in EV is helping to drive 60% sales growth in 2023.
- The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling car of any kind in Europe right now. Yep, right in the backyard of Renault, VW, Daimler, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and BMW.
- 80% of cars bought in Norway in 2022 were electric!
It feels like governments from Beijing to Washington to Oslo now ‘get it’ and are going ‘all in’. For governments and consumers to be comfortable they must be reassured that the EV manufacturing ambition can be matched with charging infrastructure, battery factory capacity and metals/materials sourcing. Indeed, one can’t help but be struck by the almost daily announcements of EV-related investment across the globe. The following headlines recently caught the eye…
- Small Towns Chase America’s $3 trillion Climate Gold Rush – Wall Street Journal
- Battery factories are driving Chinese investment in Europe – New York Times
- Becancour: Quebec’s bold new EV hub – The Globe and Mail
- Irish-founded Jolt raises €150 million for fast-charging EV stations – Business Post
- Allkem inks $15.7b deal with US rival to create lithium superpower – Sydney Morning Herald
One can almost sense the urgency in the wording of these headlines – bold, fast-charging, gold rush, superpower. However, as Texas and Florida residents are about to find out, the risks and costs of political ignorance are rising. But, the transport sector’s rapid shift from fossil fuels is only one initiative in the planet’s drive to survive. What about the construction industry/built environment which accounts for 40% of total global carbon emissions? The net carbon impact of housing the manufacture of cleaner technology is clearly a meaningful calculation for ESG-focused investment capital. So, it is encouraging to see the global EV manufacturing ecosystem seek out regions with green energy potential. Of course, cleantech sector watchers will know the investment headlines and speculation from Canada and Scandinavia are no accident.
The road ahead will not be without bumps but the incredible pace of EV adoption by consumers brings real hope of climate survival. Oh, and when markets move fast there are two types of people it is safer to ignore; institutionalised market analysts and political leaders in denial. Drive on!