Much scientific evidence shows that one of the major causes for today’s climate change globally is the green house gases (GHG) from human activities, especially the huge amount of them produced since the Industrial Revolution. To deal with the climate change, the Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level, and ideally, to keep the increase within 1.5 degrees Celsius, by the end of this century. To reach the aim, the signatories should, on an equal basis, try to balance the man-made emissions and carbon sinks at the source of greenhouse gases, in order to achieve carbon neutrality during the latter half of this century. On September 22, 2020, President Xi Jinping solemnly announced that China aims to have CO2 emissions peak by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
As one of the economic pillars of China, the automotive industry has seen its overall GHG emissions increasing rapidly and remaining strong over the entire value chain and intensive on a single-vehicle basis. Also, there exist a number of issues, such as the lack of a policy on vehicular GHG emission standards, the ambiguity in carbon neutrality for an independent brand, and the weakness of Chinese companies in the low-carbon competition. The targets of the Chinese government to have its carbon peak by 2030 and the carbon neutrality by 2060 will act as a major opportunity for the automotive industry to transform and upgrade itself and realize green, low-carbon and high-quality growth, and for China to actively participate in the global climate governance and honor its commitment as a responsible power. When all the industries are marching towards net zero emission, the automotive industry should develop its leading and driving role sufficiently, by choosing the right path and pushing and pulling its upstream and downstream counterparts on the value chain in a decarbonization effort. Only in this way can the independent automotive brands grow stronger.
In 2018, Automotive Data of China Co., Ltd. (ADC) established the World Automotive Life Cycle Association (WALCA) and launched the China Automotive Low Carbon Program (CALCP). Now it has accounted for and published results on whole life cycle GHG emissions of vehicles for four years consecutively.
In 2021, ADC initiated the research for the CALCP Research Report 2021 (“Report”) by working with 24 other organizations and institutions in China and other countries. First, the Report develops whole life cycle GHG emission calculations on the basis of single vehicles and fleets, to analyze the life cycle GHG emission levels per single vehicle and per fleet. It adopts the China Automotive Life Cycle Model (CALCM) to study the passenger vehicles sold in the territory of China in 2020. Second, it establishes three scenarios, i.e. the current policy scenario, the intermediate emission reduction scenario and the intensive emission reduction scenario, by choosing eight reduction paths, i.e. power grid cleaning, vehicle electrification, material efficiency, vehicle production energy efficiency, GHG emissions of power batteries, vehicle use energy efficiency, alternative fuels and consumption modes, and by conducting predictions and analyses over the life cycle GHG emissions on the basis of single vehicles and fleets by 2025, 2030, 2050 and 2060 in these three scenarios. Last but not least, it offers recommendations for achievement of carbon neutrality of the automotive industry in each phase. Hopefully it will become a useful reference for government agencies, industrial organizations, vehicle manufacturers and individuals in their carbon neutrality-related activities.