With the national capital recording a rise in the registration of electric vehicles, some environmentalists raised doubts about whether the transition to EVs will actually help fight the global climate crisis in the long run and said there is an urgent need to opt for renewable energy alongside it.
Since electric vehicles rely on regular charging from a local electricity network, it is quite obvious that coal is being used at another source, one of them said. According to official data, there are 1,39,945 registered electric vehicles in Delhi as of March 21, 2022. This year electric vehicles accounted for more than nine percent of all vehicles registered in the national capital, up from nearly three percent in 2018.
Though electric vehicles are expected to cut oil consumption and lower carbon dioxide emission, they said it alone will not help fight the global climate crisis. There is an urgent need to ensure 100 percent renewable energy alongside electric vehicles to tackle the climate crisis, Greenpeace India's Avinash Chanchal said. He told PTI that since the transportation sector is one of the significant contributors to climate change, a paradigm shift in the industry is needed to phase out internal combustion engine cars.
"Changes in transport need to go hand in hand with changes in the wider energy system. We must increase reclamation and recycling in the batteries sector and see much more research and investment in battery technology. We also need to reduce the number of cars on the road and understand that 'car as a system' is not good for cities. It is manifesting the increasing social and economic gap in the urban space," Chanchal said.
He further said that in their Greenpeace India campaign, they have been demanding renewable energy-fuelled electric buses that have great potential not only for reducing CO2 emission but also for improving air quality and noise protection in cities. Environmentalist Bhavreen Kandhari said that since EVs rely on regular charging from a local electricity network, it is quite obvious that coal is being used at another source.
"Fossil fuels are 'dirty' and renewables like wind and solar energy and electric vehicles are 'clean' - has become a fixture of policy assumptions in developed countries. In that case, questions also arise about where the rare earth metals or minerals required to manufacture EV cars will be mined? How will the dangerous battery pollutants of an EV at end of its life be disposed of? And from where will additional power come for charging new EVs?" Kandhari asked.
Ten-year-old globally recognized climate activist Licypriya Kangujam told PTI that electric vehicles alone will not solve the global climate crisis and that subsidizing and investing in fossil fuels need to be stopped. "We need to replace all the coal power plants and thermal power plants with solar power plants. We need to see more bicycles on the roads instead of more motor vehicles. Planting trees are the ultimate solution to fight climate change besides reducing our emissions," Kangujam told PTI.
She said that the inclusion of climate education must be made mandatory in the school curriculum to fight climate change from the grassroots. "We need climate education to find the climate solution. Children living in this world deserve to have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a clean planet to live," she said.