Electric cars and solar PV could halt growth in demand for oil and coal from 2020

Greenhouse helped Carbon Tracker warn a global audience that falling costs of electric vehicles and solar technology could halt growth in demand for oil and coal as early as 2020.

More than 850 media outlets worldwide reported on the landmark report from Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, which presents strong evidence that fossil fuel companies are seriously underestimating the impact of low-carbon advances.

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It’s a huge issue for investors. The report warns that fossil fuels could lose 10% of market share to electric vehicles and solar PV with a single decade. Losses of that scale wiped 100 billion euros off the value of European utilities and caused the collapse of the US coal industry.

Electric vehicles and solar PV are game changers for the fossil fuel industry because the power and road transport sectors account for half of global oil, coal and gas consumption. The report finds that with current market trends and international climate commitments:

  • Growth in EVs could displace 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2025, the same volume that caused the oil price collapse in 2025.
  • EVs could make up a third of the global road transport market by 2035. BP expects them to make up just 6% by that date.
  • Solar PV alone could supply 23% of global power generation by 2040. ExxonMobil expects all renewables to supply just 11% by that date.

The campaign has reached a potential audience of over 900 million worldwide, with strong initial coverage generating follow-ups that are still coming in a month later. Highlights include articles from international agencies Reuters, Bloomberg and AFP, and top tier media such as the Daily Telegraph, Forbes, CNBC, Australian Financial Review, and India’s Economic Times. A single Guardian article has been shared more than 40,000 times and generated 1600 comments.

electric vehicles, carbon tracker

This outstanding result builds on the knowledge and experience we have built up over two years of supporting Carbon Tracker on major projects. We helped distil simple, clear messages backed by telling facts and figures from a complex report. Working with Carbon Tracker’s in-house team, we reached out to journalists in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Australia who we have built relationships with over previous campaigns.

The successful campaign maximises the impact of Carbon Tracker’s work and keeps it at the forefront of the debate on fossil fuels and the low-carbon energy transition. It puts valuable ammunition into the public domain which shareholders can use to challenge big energy companies at their AGMs.

A number of banks and fossil fuel companies contacted Carbon Tracker directly after reading articles, enabling the financial think tank to engage directly with key influencers.

The results were well-received by Carbon Tracker’s funders, which helps ensure it can continue its work to “align capital markets with climate reality”, mobilising the trillions of dollars of investment needed to finance the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Greenhouse works with organisations building the financial case to switch investment away from unsustainable activities and towares the low-carbon economy including the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, the 2° Investing Initiative, ET Index and Castlefield. If you are working in this area please get in touch.