By: The Editorial Board – wsj.com – June 14, 2023
If the World Economic Forum (WEF) has its way, the number of cars around the world will be reduced by 75% by 2050. How ironic that the denizens of Davos who spend much of their lives being chauffeured back and forth from international conferences hate cars.
The goal is buried in a briefing paper released last month called “The Urban Mobility Scorecard Tool: Benchmarking the Transition to Sustainable Urban Mobility.” It points out that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will be urban by 2050. If we are to meet their needs and achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, the report recommends “electrification, public transport and shared mobility.”
This will mean a lot fewer cars: “Reduce vehicles from a potential 2.1 billion to 0.5 billion.” That is a radical drop with fewer than 30 years to do it. But this, it says, “could slash emissions from passenger vehicles by 80% compared to a business-as-usual scenario—reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 3.9 billion tons a year.”
People prefer owning cars because it gives them unparalleled mobility, and today most are powered by fossil fuels because they offer better performance and value. If mass transit offered equal or better performance, and was competitively priced without heavy taxpayer subsidies, more people would choose it. There’s also the small matter of what energy sources are going to provide all of the electricity for the electric vehicles that will replace gas-powered engines. The WEF goals will require a vast project in central planning at untold cost.
Voters in democracies can embrace all this if they want. And we have an idea that might help the Davosians sell their plans to the hoi polloi. Why not set an example by banning travel by private jet to WEF gatherings?
Private jets have a carbon footprint much greater than individual cars. If this were put up for debate by the WEF, we might even get a more realistic discussion on costs versus benefits.
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