On borrowed time: Countries will start banning cars in 10 years

Cars – specifically fossil fuel-powered vehicles – are living on borrowed time.

Don’t get too emotional, though. I’m a fellow petrol-head and I know how you feel right now. I understand your aversion towards electric vehicles and any other car types that use alternative fuels. “They lack soul,” you might say, and I partly agree with you on that.

But there’s a more important soul that needs attention right now — the human soul.

Air pollution is the world’s greatest enemy. Since I was a kid, I’ve always heard my teachers educating us about climate change, ozone layer destruction, and other earthly adversities. I paid little to no attention to that, admittedly.

Little did I know that the negative effects of air pollution will catch up with me — with us. It is here, and it’s killing a significant number of people on a global scale.

In 2017, air pollution contributed to 9 percent of deaths in 2017 alone. The percentage varies per country, which ranges from two to 15 percent; the highest percentage of deaths connected to air pollution is in South and East Asia. Yes, that includes us, the Philippines, and unfortunately, the automotive industry is the world’s biggest air quality compromisers.

In the U.S. alone, vehicles contribute to around 33 percent of the nation’s air pollution problem. That’s according to National Geographic. I don’t need to cite other data to prove the negative effects of vehicle emissions — they’re here, on the ground level, ready to be inhaled by the person next to you who you dearly love. They aren’t hard to see; smog, black clouds, soot, and several other elements populate the air — a more aggravating sight if you’re living in the city.

As alarming as this sounds, countries have already started the blueprint for the solution to our air pollution problems. International agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement are already in place to curb the adverse effects of climate change, including vehicle production and emission controls.

 With that said, a number of countries and nations have already announced banning of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Not a complete ban, though, but sales of brand-new cars that are either powered by gasoline or diesel will be prohibited. This means only electric and hybrid vehicles can be bought fresh from the factory.

Japan was the latest to announce the banning of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars in the country, which will happen in the mid-2030s. The country’s industry ministry is expected to come up with an exact plan by the end of this year, but Tokyo has already announced its own ban, which will happen in 2030.

The United Kingdom is another country that will be banning sales of non-electric cars, which will happen in 2030. By 2035, only electric and plug-in hybrid cars will be allowed to purchase in the U.K.

In the U.S., California has announced this year that 2035 is its deadline, covering all passenger and light-duty trucks. Quebec, the second-most populous province in Canada, has also announced a similar move within the same timeframe.

There are several more countries, mostly in Europe, that have announced the same ban with varying timelines. The point is, there’s a major consensus between these nations — all for the greater good of humanity.

Together, the goal is to have an emission-free planet by the year 2050. By the looks of it, we’re on the right track, but hopefully, it won’t be too late by then.

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