It is a concept that has been thrown around by activists, environmentalists and politicians for the better part of the last decade or so, namely; Global Warming. No matter what any expert or man on the street may say, the statistics are there to be seen, we are causing the temperature to rise a bit more each year. The main cause of this is due to greenhouse gases such as Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide which blocks the radiation released everyday by the earth. The major culprit of global warming is due to the approximately 750 million cars present in the world today.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) accounts for about 50% of the world’s global warming issues. Methane also plays a large contributing role, however it is not as easy to “manage” as CO2. Aviation, shipping and road transport account for more than a quarter of the CO2 production on earth through the process of burning fossil fuels. South Africa has followed suit from Europe by imposing measures to reduce its carbon emissions. Car manufacturers have been set targets to reduce the carbon emissions of their cars by 25% over the next 2 years or risk facing fines.
Manufacturers have been placing more emphasis on using hybrid technology, electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells in their newest models to meet these legislations. Even supercar manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari have models that incorporate both petrol and electric engines, similar to the now-iconic Prius range from Toyota. The problem with pure electric cars is that it will take more capacity from power stations, which produce CO2 by burning fossil fuels like cars do, to produce the extra electricity. There is also the added inconvenience of the limited range and recharge times required by electric cars that will prevent consumers from purchasing these cars.
As consumers, we should be conscious of our choice of vehicle by only purchasing cars that fall on or below the carbon emissions limits imposed by agencies like the European Union. Over-population is also a contributing factor as the more people there are, the more vehicles are needed. China has imposed limitations on the number of children that families may have in order to curb their rising population numbers and governments of other countries should follow-suit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) estimates that average temperatures could rise by as much as six degrees by 2100 if we carry on the way we are. This is undoubtedly a global issue, but every man and woman can do their part in saving the planet.