On Nov. 10 at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland (which Rich Killmer attended), six major automakers including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volvo, as well as 30 national governments pledged to work toward phasing out sales of new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 worldwide, and by 2035 in “leading markets.” The goal of the nations of the world for ending the climate crisis is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to keep the global temperature to a 1.5-degree Centigrade increase since the late 19th century.
This announcement was yet more evidence that the days of the internal-combustion engine may be over. Major car companies have recently started investing in electric vehicles, which continue to set new sales records worldwide each year. Tens of Billions of Dollarsto retool factories and make electric vehicles.
Transportation is an industry that generates approximately $1.5 trillion worldwide one-fifth of humanity’sCarbon dioxide emissions are responsible for climate change. Only half of these emissions come from vehicles and vans. In recent years, governments around the world — including China, the United States and the European Union — have begun heavily subsidizing electric vehicles.
Even though they did not sign the agreement, some of the largest automakers are still investing heavily in electric vehicles technology. Volkswagen outlined his plansTo build six battery factories, it would cost tens to billions of dollar.
There is a distinction between waiting and planning. Waiting is a role of the observer. It’s sitting in a waiting position, waiting for something to happen. Waiting is passive. We are not making anything happen.
Preparing is action. Preparing means taking steps that we believe will make something happen. Our family will not eat if we don’t prepare the meal. Successful athletes practice, stay in shape, and participate in games.
The difference between waiting or preparing is about agency. How much do we actually work towards bringing about the change we want? We will not achieve our goals if we wait. The person who prepares for a goal is more likely to see it come to pass than the one who waits. Either we wait for the new playground to be built, or we can advocate for it, raise funds, and help design it.
It is obvious that the climate crisis demands that all of us prepare for a new reality. Nobody can wait. We have the ability to choose between preparation and waiting. This is true for presidents as well as governors, legislators and administrators.
We need to support measures that enable vehicle owners choose electric powered vehicles. This will bring us closer to our goals. Sept. 22 was the day Gov. Whitmer announced two new programs to help Michiganders get the electric cars that the automobile companies promised. Their promise was not to build any gasoline-powered vehicles after 2040, or in some markets after 2035.
The governor is committed the Lake Michigan EV Circuit. It is an electric vehicle route with charging options that runs along Lake Michigan and key tourism areas. It creates a new road trip for EV owners in America. It will connect key coastal and rural communities, as well as state and national parks, and tourist attractions to a larger EV network by providing charging stations wherever chargers are required.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will provide grants to help install the charging stations. “Michigan put all of the world on wheels. Now we are making those wheels more sustainable, less polluting, and part of the push to decarbonize Michigan’s economy,” said Liesl Clark, EGLE Director. “Building muscle onto Michigan’s EV charging infrastructure, is a cornerstone to moving away climate pollution.”
The Michigan Revolution for Electrification of Vehicles Academy/Academies, (MiREV), is the second program. It will prepare people for work in the EV sector. MiREV will be working directly with employers to ensure that Michigan has the right resources and programs for this task. This will help protect our grandchildren against major climate disasters.
Many articles have asked if COP26 in Glasgow was a success. The bottom line here is that COP26 won’t be seen as a success for the U.S. unless cities, states, and towns implement plans for achieving net zero greenhouse gases emissions and keeping the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Taking steps to encourage the use of EV’s should happen now.
— Rev. Richard Killmer is a former Presbyterian minister who lives in East Grand Rapids. Rev. Jayme Babczak, Associate Pastor of First Parish Church (United Church of Christ), Yarmouth Maine.
This article first appeared on The Holland Sentinel Richard Killmer – Enabling electric vehicles is key to ending the climate crisis