GM to Phase Out Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035, Carbon Neutral by 2040

Mish

Fresh on the heels of a ridiculous rant by John Kerry on climate change, comes news of free market improvements.

GM Pledges a Net-Zero Carbon Future

Mary Bara, CEO of GM, commits to a Net-Zero-Carbon Future in a Linked-In post this morning.

Bara lists fives steps GM will take.

  1. General Motors plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 – which means removing emissions from all our products, including every vehicle we produce, and all of our global operations in the next twenty years. Where removing emissions is not possible – for example if the technology does not yet exist in those timeframes – we will compensate for those emissions through carbon credits or carbon capture. Our preference will always be for removal of emissions. This is a critical step on the path to a net-zero-carbon future.
  2. 2. General Motors has signed the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees Celsius commitment, signaling our intent to help meet the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. We will set science-based targets to achieve carbon neutrality, which we will submit to the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) for verification and approval. The SBTi is a coalition established to drive ambitious climate action through science-based emission reduction targets and is the lead partner of the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C campaign.
  3. We have worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.
  4. 4. We are working with the EDF and with governments, partners and suppliers around the world to build out the necessary charging infrastructure and to encourage the use of renewable energy in electric vehicle charging, to make it easier for every electric vehicle driver to play their part in the battle against climate change.
  5. 5. We will use 100 percent renewable energy to power our U.S. facilities by 2030 and for global facilities by 2035 – five years ahead of our previous goal.
  6. We are collaborating with our suppliers to set ambitious targets to reduce emissions, increase transparency and source more sustainable materials, including establishing a sustainability council to share best practices, learn from one another and create new standards for the industry. While electric vehicles do not produce tailpipe emissions, it is critical that the impact associated with production and charging is incorporated in our plans. By working with utility companies to provide access to more renewable energy sources, GM hopes to address the entire production cycle of future EVs, with benefits that will extend far beyond our own vehicles and operations.

My lead image is from GM's Exhibit Zero.

Why Now?

Forget Bara's politically-correct climate message. That is a not the real reason GM is acting.

Electric vehicles are smaller, lighter, and easier to manufacture. 

Market forces, not climate change, are what drives GM decisions.

Missing Ingredients

A key missing ingredient is battery technology but that is quickly improving. 

The second missing ingredient is the number of charging stations, but that transition will happen too. 

Free Market Solution

There is a bit of pressure from Biden, but there was no pressure from Trump for four years.

Assuming one believes CO2 is a problem, this is the way problems are solved. 

GM is not doing this to save the world, it is doing this because market forces mandate a change.

Similarly, solar power will come into play as storage technology improves.

Where is the CO2 coming from? 

Annual CO2 Emissions2

CO2 Stats

  • Please note that the US reduced its carbon footprint from 6.13 billion tons in 2007 to 5.28 billion tons in 2019.
  • Meanwhile, China increased its footprint from 6.86 billion tons in 2019 to 10.17 billion tons in 2019.
  • In the same timeframe, global output rose from 31.29 billion tons to 36.44 billion tons.
  • In 2007, the US accounted for 19.6% of the total global carbon footprint.
  • In 2019, the US accounted for only 14.5% of the total global footprint.

The above stats are from Our World CO2 Emissions.

John Kerry Blames Hurricanes on Climate Change 

Yesterday, John Kerry, Biden's climate czar, blamed four recent hurricanes on "climate change" as if we could stop them by spending money forced by government mandate.

Kerry's Comments

  • "There are countless economic analyses now that show it's now cheaper to deal with the crisis of climate than it is to ignore it."
  • "We spent $265 billion 2 years ago on 3 storms, Irma, Harvey, and Maria. Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year. And Irma had the first recorded winds of 185 miles an hour for 24 sustained hours."
  • "All of them were exacerbated by the last four years. Now we have to try to make up for that. That is a hard pull but this president is capable of doing it."

Kerry may as well order moon to stop creating tides. 

John Kerry Wants to Waste Money on Climate Change

Yesterday, in response to John Kerry's rant, I wrote John Kerry's Straw Man Arguments for Wasting Money on Climate Change.

I posted my article this morning at 8:00AM. Click on the link to play Kerry's video address that I rebutted,

AOC's Green New Deal Pricetag

And in case you forgot, please recall AOC's Green New Deal Pricetag of $51 to $93 Trillion vs. Cost of Doing Nothing

The Free Market vs Politicians

I had no idea Mary Bara would write that post on Linked-In today just after I blasted Kerry.

But there it is. And the free market is headed in the right direction.

US emissions were already headed down and that is despite reversals by Trump. 

We do not need AOC's $50 trillion proposal or whatever nonsense Kerry will peddle. 

If there is a problem and it can be solved at all,  it will be solved by the free market, not Joe Biden, not John Kerry and certainly not by AOC or Al Gore.

Where I Stand

Mish

Comments (69)
No. 1-29
Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

The earth covered in solar cells will look like the Darth Vader's Death Star, and warm even faster because less sunlight will be reflected.

Corvinus
Corvinus

Peanut gallery that used to praise the host when he excoriated Trump, now coming with pitchforks in 3....2.....1

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

“Electric vehicles are smaller, lighter, and easier to manufacture.”

GM had electric cars decades go, why is it better now to mnufacture than decades ago?

“GM is not doing this to save the world, it is doing this because market forces mandate a change.l

Was it just market forces or was it governments worldwide mandating no ice engines after 2030?

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

The Volt was probably the best car GM ever made, in terms of a trade-off between the carbon reduction of an eV....and the actual real time convenience of gas back-up.....so of course they quit making it, just when they finally got the range up to 50 miles on battery.

My Volt gets well over 100 mpg normally....and if I only use it for the commute, I use zero gas.

Serial hybrids make a lot of sense, especially in a place like Texas, or Australia, where people have to drive long distances on a regular basis.

Yet they now intend to go to all electric, which will take many years to get to full utility and will never have the range of my hybrid.

It is true that the Volt was not that popular a car......and my opinion is that it’s because it was too expensive to compete with low-end cheap ICE cars.....and just not snazzy enough to appeal to the Tesla crowd...so market forces....that’s probably what killed it.

It’s interesting....to me it’s still a political thing. If we outlaw ICE cars, then people will basically have no choice other than to buy an eV.

My guess is that we will see some give on this eventually. I doubt it will all work out as well as the politicians think it will, in the long run.

nzyank
nzyank

"If there is a problem and it can be solved at all, it will be solved by the free market, not Joe Biden, not John Kerry and certainly not by AOC or Al Gore."

The "free market" is ill-suited to addressing global issues. Way back in econ 101, I wrote a paper on how the free market could solve the world's problems. Got an A...how naive I was...and probably still am.....

Why do you hold the free market in such high esteem? Seems like a foundational fallacy?

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

The federal government, much like the Federal Reserve, may not be able to force a change in market direction but can certainly accelerate present velocity.

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

GM should have been phased out
around the mid 70s.

CaliforniaStan
CaliforniaStan

Sure was great how the free market solved water and air pollution. A true inspiration
how free markets solved over fishing and toxic waste discharge. Heartwarming to see how free markets have responded to vanishing rainforests. Any day now I expect the free market to open up some more national parks for Mish to take his pictures in.

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

Well, might GM's cute 2035 prediction be driven by China's 2035 mandate? Speaking of market forces.

But I sure agree: Let the market sort this stuff out.

Sechel
Sechel

Government a huge role. Government sets standards like promoting a standard lightbulb. By going 100% electric fleet suddenly the car companies have a large electric auto customer and they can promote recharging stations. Suddenly a huge obstacle to consumers buying electric vehicles is gone.

Sechel
Sechel

Increase the gas tax and the free market can respond faster. Use the money to fund electric recharging stations

Frilton Miedman
Frilton Miedman

I'll go as far as to wager that before their 2035 deadline they will have either gone bankrupt to competition from Tesla and others if they don't move faster.

EV price is rapidly dropping, fuel cost is a fraction per mile, the biggest detriment is the danger & volatility of Li batteries, but even that's getting better, atop newer technologies in batteries like graphene.

Sechel
Sechel

Consumers didn't want 4 cylinder cars with turbos, then government raised requirements. Now consumers are no longer interested

john of sparta
john of sparta

will GM still be in business in 2040?
besides, this is a "plan" or "aspiration", but not a commitment,
and anyway, 2040 might be Too Late if Market Forces go the Mish Way.

njbr
njbr

To reiterate an important point, the upward trend of CO2 emissions in China directly mirrors the graph of China's exports to the world.

They make more of the world's stuff, as a result they create more of the world's CO2.

njbr
njbr

It seems that a number of people, including our host, have missed the point that the purpose of corporations is to maximize returns for share-holders.

In a world with weak governance and trivial penalties, cash returns are king, everything else is secondary--including, life, health, safety, environment.

I am cynical enough to think that GM has noticed that Telsa is valued greater than GM and they want that same sort of share growth for their share-holders.

njbr
njbr

Is there a market for smaller, lighter vehicles?

Are you really saying that-- in a country where sedans are no longer made and where the pickup truck is king, regardless of gas cost?

Realist
Realist

Global warming and climate change are a global problem, which will require global solutions, which will require global cooperation.

All parties will have to be involved in the solution: including all governments, businesses, the scientific community, individuals, and so on; because none of them, by themselves can solve this global problem. To say that the free market, by itself, will solve the problem is simply naive.

nzyank
nzyank

I see cars becoming a red-blue statement like masks. Blue = electric and red = gas. Red will treat ownership of gas powered vehicles as a constitutional right.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Perceived pressure is better than no pressure. The odd thing here is car companies disagreed with the Trump administration anyway. They were losing market share to the likes of Tesla in the US and others overseas.

As I've said before, it will take Biden about a year to undo the mess the Trump admin created. The economy will boom again in 2022 after the pandemic ends with a third and perhaps 4th booster that covers all known infectious covid strains to date.

JonSellers
JonSellers

This is Free Market American style. The government pays to develop the technology, provides the necessary regulations to create a market, and provides the tax and subsidies necessary to make it all work. Once the hard work is done, the private sector steps in and does the design and manufacturing. The government makes it and the corporations profit.

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

Looking at what Ford just did to the Mustang brand, a name Ford often has done disservice, I have no doubt Ford has already made their decision to go down this road too. Using the legacy of the Mustang, they are clearly getting Americans to invest in the coming changes before their announcement.

Johnson1
Johnson1

AOC is accusing Ted Cruz of attempted LOL I am not a Ted Cruz fan so if he resigns....fine with me. But I thought AOC said all congress were assassination's targets that day and even Mike Pence. I wish she would make her mind up.

In a tweet to Ted Cruz:

I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out.

Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed.

In the meantime if you want to help, you can resign

AnotherJoe
AnotherJoe

Mish your article is naive to extreme. Market forces didn't created the leap forward in batteries or in any thing revolutionary to speak of. Market forces come into play once a particular reaches an in-flexion point where it can become profitable. For any technology to reach that point there has to be continuous investment by someone. In modern societies that someone is the State. The reason space is becoming profitable is because there was a NASA and the military apparatus that demanded satellites (both paid by the state).
The reality is that most USA companies no longer do pure research (to expensive, very high failure odds). Most companies do either applied research (to improve something) or development. In case you don't know both of those are tax-payer favored.
So yes government "wastes" lots of money giving it to things that do not pan-out but without that money there would hardly be the ones that actually do pan-out

Herkie
Herkie

Mish, I know the right wants to claim this is some evil plot by the democrats to use some bogus theory about man made global warming as an excuse to control more and more of our lives, but in fact GM and other car makers are taking this business decision as a purely financial matter. So are the oil companies, the era of fossil fuels is ending and just denial of that fact ain't going to change it.

I have for YEARS here said that the campaign of man made global warming (rebranded as "CLIMATE CHANGE") would end personal ownership and use of private transportation for all but the top 1-10% or so of citizens and I was laughed at. Battery power is not going to be affordable to the middle class in our lives, if ever. The upfront as well as long-term costs are just too high.

You will get from point A to point B in privately (corporate) owned cars that are computer driven, and filthy, and you will get from point A to point B on the schedule of those companies providing the taxi service, you will pay by the ride plus per mile, plus state and local taxes, plus a fuel charge, plus whatever the hell else they feel like charging. At times of peak demand like conventions and sporting events, concerts etc. you will wait a long time to use their services, and every trip both pick up and destination as well as ever word you utter while in the vehicle and every web page you visit via the car's hotspot will be recorded and documented.

Get ready to pay double to triple for transportation as a part of your monthly budgets.


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