The Impact of Global Warming on the Automotive Industry


As the world deals with the issue of climate change, the automotive industry finds itself face to face battle against global warming and climate change.  The recent “ECCA 2023” 6th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2023, which took place from 19 to 21 June 2023 in Dublin, Ireland underscored the urgent need to address GGE - greenhouse gas emissions and their far-reaching implications. In this article, we’ll talk about the considerable influence of global warming on the automotive sector, examining its role in contributing to CO2 emissions, the challenges it faces, and the innovative solutions that are reshaping the industry's landscape.


Transport Sector's Carbon Footprint

The transport sector, responsible for approximately 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions, holds a significant stake in the global emissions crisis. This segment of emissions is projected to grow disproportionately as per capita transport demand accelerates. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that without intervention, transport emissions could outpace those from other sectors, posing a grave threat to the environment.



Road Vehicles and CO2 Emissions

Within the transport sector, road vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, and two- and three-wheelers, account for nearly three-quarters of transport-related CO2 emissions. While the COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary decrease in road transport activity due to lockdowns, emissions are expected to rebound as economic activity resumes. The need for action is clear, and governments and regulators worldwide are recognizing the pivotal role that the automotive industry plays in shaping the emissions landscape.


Regulations and Targets

To mitigate emissions and combat global warming, governments are setting ambitious targets for CO2 emissions reductions in the automotive sector. For instance, the UK's commitment to achieving net carbon zero by 2050 necessitates a comprehensive approach that encompasses the transportation sector. Targets such as these are driving automakers to embrace greener technologies and innovations to transition away from fossil fuels.


The Path to Greener Transportation

The pursuit of a greener road transportation sector aligns not only with environmental imperatives but also economic benefits. Improved fuel economy in vehicles can lead to lower running costs, reduced oil imports, and less traffic congestion. Additionally, evidence of the health hazards posed by tailpipe emissions, particularly nitrogen oxides, underscores the urgency of managing the transport sector's impact.


Global Approaches to Emission Reduction

Around the world, governments are employing various policy levers to reduce energy consumption and fossil fuel dependency in transportation. The US implements Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules, while the European Union focuses on fleet sales weighted CO2 averages and fines. China's strategy, driven by economic priorities, is placing electric vehicles (EVs) at the center of its long-term development plans.


Electrification as the Solution

The key to achieving emissions reduction goals lies in the electrification of vehicle drivetrains. Electric vehicles (EVs) present a promising solution, with zero tailpipe emissions and the potential to meet stringent CO2 targets. Different electrification options, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), are being explored to transition away from combustion engines.


The following article also talks about how London has come up with Ultra Low Emission Zone ULEZ in April 2019 in an effort to improve air quality in central London by cutting the number of older, more polluting cars taking journeys through the capital. The charge is £12.50 for cars, motorcycles, and vans ULEZ ARTICLE


Challenges and Innovations

The transition to electric vehicles is not without challenges. Issues such as range anxiety, charging infrastructure, battery costs, and sustainable hydrogen production need to be addressed to ensure the mass adoption of EVs. Nevertheless, automakers, research groups, and startups are actively working on solutions to overcome these hurdles and accelerate the shift to electrification.


The Road to 2050 – UK's commitment to achieving net carbon zero.

Industry projections indicate that pure combustion engines will gradually phase out, and electric drivetrains will become dominant by 2050. However, the specific propulsion system that prevails depends on the stringency of CO2 emissions targets set by governments. Electrification emerges as the key enabler to meet these targets and ensure a sustainable future.



The automotive industry finds itself at a crossroads, poised to shape the future of transportation and combat global warming. The urgency to reduce CO2 emissions and address climate change has led to a paradigm shift in the sector. As governments, regulators, and automakers align their efforts, the path to greener transportation becomes clearer. Electric vehicles, once a novelty, are emerging as the cornerstone of a sustainable future, and the industry's commitment to innovation, efficiency, and responsible practices will pave the way for tomorrow's winners on the road to a low-carbon economy.