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SUVs pollute as much as a country like Japan

According to a study published by the International Energy Agency, if SUVs were a country, it would be the sixth largest emitter of CO2 in the world, just behind Japan. This new publication proves once again how the success of SUVs has a heavy impact on the climate.

Credit: Renault

For several years now, SUVs have been in the sights of conservationists. Several studies have been published on the subject to alert the authorities to their excessive production of greenhouse gases. Well-founded concerns, at a time when SUVs have never had the wind in their sails.

Indeed, while many countries and manufacturers are committed to putting an end to the marketing of combustion cars, like the European Commission, which wants to get rid of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2035, sales of SUVs have never been so tall. As specified the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest study, SUV sales have increased by 10% since the start of the pandemic.

And if this trend continues, these vehicles are expected to account for 45% of global car sales in the coming years. Another figure aptly describes the popularity of SUVs: there were 50 million around the globe in 2010, there are 320 million in 2022.

Read also: CO2 emissions – SUVs cause pollution to explode in Europe

SUVs pollute almost as much as Japan

In its publication, the world organization founded in 1974 adds that SUVs generated in 2021 no less than 900 million tonnes greenhouse gases. Almost as much as Japan, which currently ranks 5th among the most polluting countries, with 1,031 million tonnes to its credit. “If SUVs were a country, it would be the 6th largest emitter of greenhouse gases ”, assure Laura Cozzi and Apostolos Petropoulous of the IEA.

China holds the palm with 10,668 million tonnes of CO2 emitted each year, followed by the United States (4,713 million), India (2,442 million), and Russia (1,577 million). For comparison, France seems to be a good student, with “only” 277 million tonnes of CO2 emitted per year.

To remedy the problem, the International Energy Agency calls for the establishment “policies supporting a rapid transition to electric vehicles and incentives to replace gasoline or diesel SUVs more quickly ”. Furthermore, the IEA recommends that the authorities legislate around the weight of these vehicles : “Besides the fact that they consume more energy, bigger cars have higher needs for strategic minerals, because SUVs are equipped with bigger batteries ”. On this topic, France was a pioneer, since our country has imposed a weight penalty on heavy vehicles (over 1.8 tonnes) since January 1, 2022.

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