A new report released by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that CO2 emissions from new cars have risen for the first time since 2000.
The cause, according to the SMMT, is the country’s aim to do away with diesel.
The UK allows taxes to be implemented on new diesel car owners, but rather than buying zero emission and electric cars, consumers are simply purchasing traditional gas-fueled models.
Diesel models are said to have better mileage, which may be another reason why the efforts to ban diesel appear to have slightly backfired.
Greg Archer, a director of the Transport & Environment Organization, an association whose mission is cleaner transportation and sustainable development in the EU, told the Guardian that blaming diesel is just a convenient way to avoid the real issues.
“The principal reason CO2 emissions are rising is that carmakers are selling more gas-guzzling SUVs,” said Archer. “Blaming the slump in diesel sales is a smokescreen that hides their failure to fit fuel efficiency technologies to the new cars they are selling.”
The new report states that in 2017, CO2 emissions rose by 8 percent. This is the first recorded rise in emissions in two decades, and there are concerns that now the UK will not be able to meet the goals set by the Paris Accord.
Even though the SMMT points to declines in diesel sales as one of the main drivers behind the rise in emissions, the report also notes that consumers opting away from zero emission electric, or hybrid models is another important factor.
Electric models and hybrids are just too expensive for consumers at this point, and there are no tax incentives to make zero-emission cars more affordable in the United Kingdom.
The chief executive of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, commented on the report saying that in order to keep emissions down and keep up with Paris Climate Agreement, electric and hybrid car sales would have to increase.
“The industry shares government’s vision of a low carbon future and is investing to get us there – but we can’t do it overnight; nor can we do it alone,” Hawes said.
“The anti-diesel agenda has set back progress on climate change, while electric vehicle demand remains disappointingly low amid consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability.”