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Published on July 7th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


EVs Could Account For 35% Of New Car Sales In Asia By 2040, HSBC Reports

July 7th, 2016 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath

Electric vehicles could make up 35 per cent of new car sales in Asia by 2040, driven by a significant reduction in battery prices and a rapidly changing mindset among consumers, industry and governments, a new global investment report has predicted.

evs-row-620The Asia Equity Strategy report, released by HSBC Global Research on Monday, details 10 investment themes for the next decade that are expected to generate above-average growth, “irrespective of the macro backdrop”.

The themes, which range from beauty and healthcare to renewable energy and robotics, include a category dubbed “Charge me”, which predicts electric vehicle sales throughout Asia will rise dramatically, hitting 35 per cent of total car sales by 2040, as has been projected by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report puts the global electric vehicle market in the midst of its third global boom, which it says has been underway since the third quarter of 2015, driven by strong demand in China since Volkswagen’s emission scandal, the launch of the more affordable Tesla model, and a sharp reduction in the cost of lithium-ion batteries, which currently account for 30-40 per cent of the price of an EV.

“At the heart of this story lies a significant reduction in EV battery prices,” say the report’s authors, Herald van der Linde and Devendra Joshi – a reduction that is in turn being driven by a rapidly increasing scale of production.

“If the percentage of electric vehicles on the road rises to 3.8 per cent in 2020 from 0.4 per cent in 2014, demand for lithium-ion batteries will rise 14x,” the report notes. “This benefits battery makers, as well as component makers that benefit from rising electronic content in cars.”

Policy support and stricter environmental regulations have also helped perpetuate this virtuous circle, the report says.

China’s aggressive subsidisation program, for example, based on a target of 5 million electric cars on the road by 2020, is expected to have a positive knock-on effect for the entire EV and lithium-ion battery ecosystem.

Korea has plans to introduce tax incentives for EVs and HEVs, the report adds; while in India, the government last year launched a scheme called FAME – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric cars – that offers subsidies of up to $US2,000 per green car.

And car markers are already responding. Hyundai, which recently introduced a new EV that can travel 180km on a single charge, aims for a 50 per cent market share in Korea’s EV market by 2020 (about 200,000 units in Korea alone).

But the report also suggests that an important ideological hurdle has been cleared, paving the way for an industry-wide shift from internal combustion engines to electric cars.

“Tesla has shown that the barriers to entry in the car industry are far lower than widely assumed. It has taken the luxury car market by storm and in the process redesigned the economics of making electric cars.

“Earlier this year Tesla launched its Model 3, a cheaper car aimed at the upper end of the mass market,” the report says.

“Electric vehicles are here to stay.”

Reprinted with permission.

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  • Bob_Wallace

    What may make this prediction very, very wrong is the emergence of self-driving cars.

    If we get self-driving EVs by 2025 then private ownership of cars is likely to plummet by 2035. Most people will find no reason to own a car if they can simply phone for a ride when they need it and then ride for a fraction of the cost of driving their own car.

    By 2040 ICEV ownership may be limited to a few very small niches. The largest of which may be car collectors who once in awhile take one out for a cruise.

  • Edward Higgins

    35% by 2040? I thought it should be 75-80% and more by 2040 🙂 do you really think people will use fuel cars when EVs will be available? I think most of EVs will be at the nice level considering that even now Neutrino Inc is building first prototype of their EV which will have a range of 2,000 kms per charge and selfrecharhing at a minute. It will come out in 2018, do you imagine what will be possible in 2030-2040?) And who will need fuel cars then? Especially at the asian market where environment questions stay very acutely and EVs is the one best ways to make their countries weather etc much cleaner?

  • neroden

    Underestimate. It’ll be nearly 100% by 2040.

  • Peter Egan

    It’s a ridiculously small percentage. It does not account for the rise of vehicles produced by the likes of Kandi and designed for the crowed cities of Asia and elsewhere. Also think Riversimple with the junk hydrogen fuel cell, compressed hydrogen tank and capacitor bank replaced by batteries.

    By 2040, most vehicles in the world will be 500 kg, or less, four-wheel vehicles designed for local/regional travel and costing $8,000 new. They will likely have a top speed of 100kmh, 0-100 kmh in 10 sec, 15 kWh of battery, 300 kmh of range and 7 kW motors attached to each wheel which will do all the breaking accept in emergencies. They will be 2.5 to 4 metres long and designed for the cities in which most people in the world will live. The US fleet will be at the biggest end of the scale and likely have the highest proportion of PHEVs. Virtually, all new vehicles that are not electric will be hybrids – including many classes of aircraft.

    The electric two-wheeler fleet is growing – the weight and range is OK, what is needed is for the price of electrically assisted bikes to come down to $400.

    Siemens and others are developing technology that would allow a 100 seat aircraft like the Bombardier CRJ 1000 to fly with a large APU (like the P&W PW980A from the A380), 4 electric motors driving two pairs of counter-rotating propellers, and a battery with 150 km of range, to replace the two jet engines and APU mounted at the rear of the craft. They could mount motors in the plane wheels for taxiing too.

  • Epicurus

    If a major transition doesn’t happen long before 2040, we will probably be in a temperature death spiral as the world’s methane hydrates start to melt at an ever-increasing rate.

    Maybe a Zika virus variant will prevent humans from reproducing viable offspring and save the planet.

    • Kevin McKinney

      “Maybe a Zika virus variant will prevent humans from reproducing viable offspring and save the planet from ending up like Venus.”

      Most climate scientists believe that there is no possibility of a Venus scenario:

      We can probably wreak severe havoc on the biosphere on timescales of up to a million years or so, we can destroy our own future, but luckily, we appear not to be able to permanently transform the basic nature of the planet–no matter how dumb we act.

      • Epicurus

        Your linked article discusses why there won’t be a runaway greenhouse effect due to water vapor or CO2, but it doesn’t address the possibility of such an event due to the release of methane (which is 30 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2) as a result of the melting of the vast quantity of methane hydrate in our oceans.

        • Bob_Wallace

          From your Wiki link –

          “Most deposits of methane clathrate are in sediments too deep to respond rapidly, and modelling by Archer (2007) suggests the methane forcing should remain a minor component of the overall greenhouse effect.[17] Clathrate deposits destabilize from the deepest part of their stability zone, which is typically hundreds of metres below the seabed. A sustained increase in sea temperature will warm its way through the sediment eventually, and cause the shallowest, most marginal clathrate to start to break down; but it will typically take on the order of a thousand years or more for the temperature signal to get through.”

          • Epicurus

            Right. I was being an alarmist.

            It’s unlikely, but still possible, and regardless, we won’t be around to see it.

            A thousand years is like a small fraction of a second in geological time.

          • Kevin McKinney

            No, the article I linked doesn’t specifically address methane. However, the physics described apply, regardless of the cause of the radiative forcing. Morever, there are a couple of things about methane that you should know:

            1) Its atmospheric lifetime is pretty short. A ‘pulse’ of methane lasts ~10 years. (However, its main breakdown product is CO2.)

            2) Its radiative efficacy advantage (if we call it an ‘advantage’) over CO2 is mostly a product of its lower atmospheric concentration. (As with CO2, the forcing is a log function–ie., it’s a fixed quantity *per doubling* of concentration–which means that the higher the concentration to start with, the greater the increase needs to be to get the same warming effect.) Dr. Ray Pierrehumbert of the University of Chicago (a very eminent authority indeed) has said that on a ‘molecule per molecule basis’ CO2 is actually the stronger GHG of the two.

            So the basic conclusion that a true runaway isn’t possible on today’s Earth doesn’t change–though it’s all kind of moot in a way, since the magnitude of the disaster that we *could* still invoke is more or less beyond imagination, anyway. In that sense, I’m no less “alarmist” than you are–just more pedantic.

          • Epicurus

            Thanks. What’s the worst case scenario then?

          • Kevin McKinney

            I don’t the risks are very well limited, unfortunately, so the worst case is still really bad, and we’re not very sure exactly what ‘really bad’ means.

            Some possibilities:

            –Massive human population crash (I agree with Bob that utter extinction is unlikely, but there are those who disagree).
            Some of the ‘sub-factors’ that could contribute to that crash are listed next.

            –Massive disruption to agriculture, due to climate shift’s direct effects, precipitation effects (drought and flood, differentially on a regional basis), ecological shifts causing pest problems, and perhaps loss of ecological services.

            –Public health effects, due to various combinations of previous.

            –Economic disruptions due to various combinations of the above, including loss of productivity in all types of outdoor work in tropical regions, and sea level rise (which will impose serious infrastructure and casualty costs.)

            –Military conflict due to effects of climate change as threat multiplier.

            Also, we can confidently expect a massive extinction crisis among flora and fauna generally. Ecosystems will be reshuffled on a planetary basis due to the differential adaptive capabilities and strategies of various creatures.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I suspect we’re going to suffer some of all of the above between now and when climate change smooths out sometime in the future. We already are suffering some small amounts.

            It’s really a question, IMO, of how bad we let it get. I assume that if we get human CO2 emissions down to zero by 2050 and then start pulling some back into sequestration we can avoid massive hurt. And I expect we’ll arrive a zero CO2 as much as ten years earlier, assuming things aren’t disrupted by something like a very major war.

            I’m looking at 2025 as the year of deciding “This shit is serious! Time to install renewables twice as fast as what we’ve been doing!”.

            By 2025 we should have 2 cent/kWh wind and solar, something close to that. Storage should be no more than 5 cents/kWh. EVs should be cheaper than ICEVs. There would be no economic reason to continue at a slow pace. Investments in RE, storage and EVs should pay back their cost in a decade.

            I leave it open to the possibility that things might be worse than we suspect but I think that a low probability given the amount of brainpower we’re throwing at the problem.

            I assume climate scientists are right, we aren’t risking turning the Earth into a Venus-like planet. If we really screw up the the big risk is to return to a very hot planet with seas as high as they’ll get with all the existing ice melted out.

            Given that we’ve got all the technology we have I can see millions of humans surviving by living underground or heavily insulated buildings, growing much of our food indoors, and venturing out in the cool season (winter renamed) to grow some field crops. We might have no more apples but we might be growing some killer oranges in Canada.

            We could probably spend significant amounts of time outside as long as we had a sanctuary during the hottest periods.

            The wealthiest of us might spend six months a year in the cooler hemisphere.

          • Kevin McKinney

            That’s a possible scenario, AFAIK. It’s really hard to constrain possibilities, in part because there are just so many possible interactions.

            Unfortunately, I think the least likely part is contained in your phrase “assuming things aren’t disrupted by something like a very major war.” I think that war is very likely over the coming decades. It may not be ‘very major’, but the Bush wars (can’t resist a pun, even on a grim topic) were a major distraction from addressing climate change, for years.

            There are a couple of things that make war problematic from a CC point of view:

            1) Since CC is pre-eminently an international problem, and since war-fighting seriously disrupts international cooperation (depending on who is fighting whom, and on the scale of the conflict), wars have the potential to derail cooperative action for long periods of time.

            2) War is inherently ‘high stakes’, which means that it is essentially and inherently wasteful, since all kinds of normal constraints–moral, economic, social–immediately go out the window. That’s proverbial, of course, and mostly with respect to human life, but is also true in terms of emissions. It also mitigates strongly against the ‘simple life’ emissions solutions some propose, since to remain armed means maintaining a sizable manufacturing and logistics base–one NOT predicated on being ‘green.’

            And climate change promotes conflict, obviously–hunger, refugee issues, and resource-based conflict are all powerful factors increasing the likelihood of wars, insurgencies, and so forth. (Vide Syria, and its ongoing consequences, up to and including Brexit, and the (U)K’s political turmoil.) See Gwynn Dyer’s “Climate Wars” for an in-depth view; I summarized it here:


            I also suspect that this bit underestimates the intensity of the problem:

            “We might have no more apples but we might be growing some killer oranges in Canada.”

            And that, even though I think we will continue to have apples.

            The real issue–I suspect–is global ecological reshuffling and impoverishment.

            By ‘reshuffling’, I designate the effect that happens under climate change, as the component organisms of the system adapt a differing rates. Adaptation primarily means either changes in life patterns, or shifts in range. Both are observably happening on a wide scale today–southern organisms show up in the Arctic and birders all over the world see poleward range shifts, even as Canadian boreal squirrels now give birth two weeks earlier than they used to and all sorts of flowering plants bloom earlier, too.

            The problem is that different species have very different capabilities to move, and to shift their ‘phenological’ patterns. That means that ecosystems are quite literally torn apart, over both time and space. Sometimes that will mean extinction; other times it will mean new constellations emerging.

            But it will definitely mean a whole lot of biological chaos. And humans won’t be unscathed by it; the results are extremely unpredictable, but will very often turn out to involve threats to, or limitations on our supplies of water, clean air, and food. They will also involve plagues of various sorts as populations boom and crash, and possibly infrastructure issues as well–since vegetation helps determine landscape.

            Some of the biological basics are discussed here:


          • Bob_Wallace

            I expect we’ll see climate refugee wars. I think we already have seen climate change caused war in the Sudan and Syria may have been pushed over the edge by climatic factors. Rising heat and longer drought is going to force people out of the hottest, driest places and we’ll see others not willing to accept those refugees. Look at what is happening in Europe right now.

            By “major war”, I mean a war between the countries that use the most energy. I think this a low probability event and don’t spend time worrying about it.

            Obviously the world’s ecology will get radically changed. We’re already causing large scale change. We’re causing one of the Earth’s great biological disruptions and wiping out vast numbers of species right now. Even if we hold the average temperature increase to 1.5C we’re going to make a huge change in flora and fauna.

            We’ve already hurt ourselves. The question is how much more harm we’ll create, how rapidly will we cut our CO2 emissions and pull CO2 pack out of the atmosphere. My point is/was that I don’t see a significant probability that we will cause the extinction of humans.

            Worst case, IMO, we greatly lower population numbers and end up living on a planet which is capable of supporting fewer humans.

          • Kevin McKinney


            However, I think the worst case might also include civilizational collapse–a new “Dark Ages” scenario. As a “cultural worker”, that would be really, really, sad for me. The loss of the work of artists like Mozart (a pre-eminent example), not to forget so many others in so many media, from Sophocles right down to Ai Weiwei–well, it would be utterly tragic. And that’s not even dealing with the more ‘practical’ losses implicit in such a scenario.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I see little chance that we’d lose the knowledge we’ve accumulated. The way storage is going we could probably put the world’s total knowledge in a wheelbarrow of solid state memory.

            Obviously we’d see much of what we’ve build close to sea level go underwater but the loss of land would be gradual, giving us time to move the important sculpture, etc. to high ground. And we’d know where that ground would be.

            Music, art – so much can be preserved digitally. And stored at many different places around the globe. I would imagine we’d see a gradual movement of museums to areas well above the maximum sea level and even underground.

            We now have affordable tunneling machines. Go down a few feet and the temperature will be moderate. We can stick enough solar panels and wind turbines on the surface to give us all the electricity we need to dehumidify and light our underground cities.

            I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I think we will lose are few places. Low lying islands are already going under. I suspect well lose parts of southern Florida since we can’t build sea walls there. If we act as quickly (zero CO2 emissions before 2050) then we probably could save most of our coastal cities with sea walls.

            What might be the hardest thing would be to responsibly lower our population levels if we really had to do something like go underground.

          • Kevin McKinney

            If it were to come to the “Dark Ages” scenario, we wouldn’t benefit from digital storage, nor tunneling machines, nor much of any of the tech that exists now, or will exist then–because the very essence of the process would be the exponential, self-reinforcing collapse of the whole industrial ecosystem. Some see the sophistication of our industrial culture as making it more resilient than ‘primitive’ cultures. I’m not sure that the opposite isn’t the case, because I see the specialization and interdependence as creating serious vulnerabilities. “Strategic materials,” anyone?

            I’m not saying that I think it’s a probable scenario. But given that we can’t constrain economic risk, demographic risk, security risk, or ecological risk with any great precision, nor their interactions virtually at all, I see no way to be reasonably sure that such a thing couldn’t happen. And I do think it’s more likely than complete extinction. (I suppose that’s good, as far as it goes.)

            Certainly one of the factors that would probably be involved would be war, and military do try to protect their assets, including knowledge and manufacturing capability. Nor would civilian leadership–if such a thing survives in the kinds of times I’m imagining–be blind to the need to preserve knowledge. But ‘collapse’ means collapse of power structures, too. Who can say how bad paroxysmic destruction might become, if worse came to worst?

            (And in any case, I’m afraid poor old Mozart and Chaucer would be well down the priority list for preservation–‘rogue’ academics might be the best hope there. But even if a recording of the ‘Jupiter’ symphony survives, that does not mean that the musical culture it exemplifies will. That exists, before all else, in the beings of many thousands of musicians, passing on their knowledge–much of which is essentially experiential–generation by generation.)

          • Bob_Wallace

            We have no reason to suspect there would be a sudden collapse. The climate will change slowly, based on what we now know. The average temperature will gradually increase, it will become harder to grow foods at the margin, the oceans will gradually rise.

            Knowledge will be the first thing to “go underground”. Our server farms already are in highly protective buildings and I think some have gone underground, mainly to make it easier to cool them.

            Over decades we would likely intentionally create digital museums where the “best” of everything would be stored. The scores of all of Chopin’s nocturnes as well as the best recordings and videos of their performance. The books and articles which discuss them will be stored. The information we have about the period instruments will be stored. Videos of master classes will be stored.

          • Kevin McKinney

            I don’t want to argue here; Lord knows the unknowns are pretty huge. But I think there is some reason to think that collapse could potentially occur quite rapidly. Yes, climate change is slow, as are the specific effects you mention. However, no matter how slowly seas rise, there is still a moment of overflow–by which I mean to suggest that there are some hard, discontinuous limits. When we hit them, we hit them:

            –When the Arctic sea ice is gone;
            –When a particular location no longer experiences consistent days of freeze;
            –When the Pine Island glacier comes ungrounded;
            –When a particular body of water dries up (Lake Poopo, anyone?);
            When a particular species disappears from a range or from the planet.

            I’m sure there are more, but that’s a very quick stream-of-consciousness sample. In short, there are definitely non-linearities and ‘tipping points’. (A big one might be the shift of the Amazon basin to grassland.) Another one, of course, would be a large-scale nuclear exchange. (India v. Pakistan, anyone?)

            And the interactions can occur quite rapidly. Consider the Syrian war:

            –drought, 2007-2010; 1.5 million Syrians leave the land and migrate to cities.
            –2007–2011; inadequate responses and political repression lead to widespread protest. Met with further repression, the protest becomes armed resistance.
            –2011; civil war.
            –2013; Hezbollah enters conflict in support of Syrian government.
            –2014; Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaims a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. During the course of the year, a quarter million refugees from the conflict enter the EU.
            –2015; the refugee flow quadruples. Nativist, and in some cases crypto-Fascist, parties register huge gains in support across the EU. In the US, similar insecurities drive the political rise of Donald Trump.
            –2016; IS, losing militarily, steps up terrorist ops, further exacerbating a fearful, xenophobic mindset across the developed world. This contributes considerably to the UK’s vote for “Brexit”, which in turn contributes another quantum of political chaos.

            So, in less than 10 years, we’ve gone from a regional drought, to global political problem–and a political problem that could yet complicate the response to the climate crisis (since many of the most staunchly xenophobic are also climate change denialists.) And that, simply via one aspect of the problem–climate refugees.
            So far, the droughts, storms and floods have been tolerable, even for the insurance (or re-insurance) industry. But that’s not guaranteed; and in fact, guarantees would likely run the other way, as in, these things are guaranteed to keep getting worse as long as we continue to do what we are doing.

            Well, I’m going on. But no, I can’t agree that we can count on a nice gradual challenge. There are reasons to think that some things could happen quite suddenly. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t; but if they do, we can’t be sure we’d handle it well–or successfully.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I know of nothing that would make climate change like falling off a cliff. (That was a problem that many of the Peak Oil people had. They assumed we would abruptly run out of oil and crash.)

            Can you pick out one of your ‘sea ice melting, glacier slipping loose’ items and describe how they might lead to an abrupt, very serious change in the climate or livability of most of the planet?

            Obviously if India/Pakistan or any other two countries started tossing nuclear weapons at each other and Russia/China/the US joined in we’d be disrupted in a major way. But that’s something different than climate change.

            I expect small wars/conflicts at the margin where local conditions make living too difficult. People will be fighting to move and other people will be fighting to keep them from moving. I think that’s happening now. But I don’t see a path from climatic refugees to a nuclear war.

            (I think we’re discussing, not arguing. Although sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…. ;o)

          • Kevin McKinney

            “I think we’re discussing, not arguing.”

            Excellent! Well, then, let’s carry on a bit further then, shall we?

            “I know of nothing that would make climate change like falling off a cliff.”

            There’s been a fair bit of work on that now. A useful source is a National Academies Press publication that came out a couple of years ago. A download page is here:


            The summary chapter lists:

            1) Abrupt changes underway:
            a) Loss of Arctic sea ice, which could produce “potentially large and irreversible effects on various components of the Arctic ecosystem, including disruptions in the marine food web, shifts in the habitats of some marine mammals, and erosion of vulnerable coastlines… shifts in climate and weather around the northern hemisphere… [and] new legal and political challenges.” Which sounds unmenacing, but points 2 and 3 could be dangerous.
            b) An extinction event, which will likely result in “loss of ecosystem services, revenue, and jobs.” Again, the simple phrase ‘loss of ecosystem services’ covers an awful lot of ground, from the relatively innocuous to the hellish.

            2) ‘Abrupt change of unknown probability’:
            a) Destabilization of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet. That would mean 3-4 meters of sea level rise, possibly before the end of the present century. I’m not sure what the magnitude of the impact would be, precisely, but just a half meter would put tens or hundreds of millions of people and many trillions of dollars of assets at risk, according to this story:


            The good news is that the NAP team “judges an abrupt change in the WAIS within this century to be plausible, with an unknown although probably low probability.” Well, OK, implausible would have been better.

            3) ‘Abrupt change of low probability’:
            a) Disruption of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)–ie., “The Day After Tomorrow” scenario (though the movie exaggerated enormously)–low probability this century. (NB–some recent observations are now suggesting that AMOC may, in fact, be starting to slow down.) But it probably will happen eventually, if we keep to BAU.
            b) Disruption of high-latitude methane. Unlikely to happen abruptly, though still a serious long-term problem under prolonged BAU scenarios.

            They also considered:

            “…sea level rise due to thermal expansion or ice sheet melting (except WAIS—see above), decrease in ocean oxygen (expansion in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs)), changes to patterns of climate variability, changes in heat waves and extreme precipitation events (droughts/floods/hurricanes/major storms), disappearance of winter Arctic sea ice (distinct from late summer Arctic sea ice—see above), and rapid state changes in ecosystems, species range shifts, and species boundary changes.”

            Some of those scenarios rise to a ‘moderate’ risk rating for the 21st century time frame.

            “Can you pick out one of your ‘sea ice melting, glacier slipping loose’
            items and describe how they might lead to an abrupt, very serious change
            in the climate or livability of most of the planet?”

            Sure. The WAIS does rapidly destabilize, leading to a hundred million of climate refugees. Two of the cities most at risk are Calcutta and Mumbai; in combination with the climate-driven loss of water supply in Pakistani borderlands, increased political tensions generally, and long-standing national animosity, India and Pakistan do go to war, and the conflict does become a full-blown nuclear exchange, with both sides using everything they’ve got.

            Ira Helfand, of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, has claimed in the pages of the NYT that “Studies have shown that in addition to the mass deaths from nuclear
            weapons, the use of less than half of the Indian and Pakistani arsenals
            would cause worldwide climate disruption and a global famine that could
            put up to two billion people at risk.” (Each state has something like 100 nuclear warheads; I didn’t find estimates of the megatonnage involved.)


            Dunno if he’s right about that, but it doesn’t seem impossible.

            “But that’s something different than climate change.”

            Well, yes, it’s not just climate change. But I think that’s how it is in the real world. The Syrian example, which we more or less seem to agree on, isn’t ‘just climate change’, either. Any real-world development is going to involve more than just climate change, important though that will be; it will also include the biological, ecological, and human responses, too. That what makes it so imponderable, and so potentially risky.

            By the way, the India-Pakistan scenario is mostly not mine; it was presented (minus the rapid destabilization of the WAIS drowning Calcutta and Mumbai; that was my addition) in one of the chapters of Gwynn Dyer’s “Climate Wars”, which I believe I mentioned before. It’s summarized here:


          • Bob_Wallace

            Everything you list is gradual and regional.

            Seas are not going to rise fast enough to drown people in their beds. Temperatures are not going to rise fast enough to wipe out all humans during one big heatwave. We’ll gradually move to higher ground and protect ourselves more against heat.

            Some parts of the globe will go under water. Parts of South Florida and Bangladesh are examples. Some parts of the globe will become too hot for human habitat. Parts of the Middle East are likely to become as barren of humans as is Death Valley.

            Your quotes talk of “100 million” and “2 billion”. There are about 7 billion people on Earth. Losing even half would not be an end to humans. Losing 90% wouldn’t be an end to humans, there would still be 700 million left. Losing 99% would still leave 7 million.

            Let me be clear. I suspect millions, even tens of millions may die because of climate change. I have no expectation that humans will get by unscathed. What I don’t see is human extinction.

            I have no doubt we could house a million people underground or in highly insulated buildings. We might be able to house a billion or a few billion. We know how to tunnel. We know how to insulate. We know how to harvest energy from sunshine and wind. We know how to grow food indoors and how to store food we grow outside to the extent we can grow under open skies.

            I have no way of guessing what the final number might be if we were forced to take extreme measures.

          • Kevin McKinney

            Bob, we already agreed that both of us think that extinction is unlikely, so I’m not sure why you are bringing that up again. What we had been discussing is the question of civilizational collapse. Most Romans survived the collapse of Classical civilization. In fact, there’s no particular reason to think that anyone identified the process they were living through as ‘the collapse of Classical civilization.’ If they made it through the most recent barbarian invasion, they probably felt they would be OK.

            Switching to nonlinear processes, no, the list I have given is not, IMO, regional–not in its effects, at least. To take a leading example, SLR is global-scale. True, inland areas clearly don’t take the direct hit, but if you are talking about many millions of climate refugees, you are talking about economic and political disruption affecting the entire global economy.

            As to the idea that these effects will be gradual, well, I suppose you can always find a timescale for which that is true. But they are all ‘abrupt’ in terms of the normal evolution of climate, because that is the criterion used in the study. And some could well be abrupt *enough* to pose the risk of overwhelming the ability of our society to cope. I’ve already given a scenario by which that could happen; there are certainly many others.

            For example: Russia, in 2019-2020, reels under the impact of massive crop failures induced by circulation changes consequent to loss of Arctic sea ice. (As far as I know–just to be clear–this linkage is entirely speculative. There is no reason to think this is especially likely–or, equally, especially unlikely.) This is exacerbated by economic stresses consequent to ongoing Western sanctions. The Putin regime, facing widespread discontent, seeks to deflect attention by one more crypto-annexation, this time in the Baltics. But the NATO ‘tripwire’ forces work as advertised, and a deeply unpopular President Trump feels the need to live up to his tough guy image, which means the use of tactical nuclear weapons. This escalates to a full-blown US-Russia war…

            You will no doubt say that this, again, is not ‘just climate change.’ And of course that is true. Let me re-iterate: it never will be ‘just climate change,’ because humans will react. And we do react very, very abruptly indeed. (Tolstoy made the point in his famous prologue to War and Peace that ‘the apple falls when it falls’–that is, that these matters operate in a way that is deeply weird, seemingly deterministic, yet profoundly unpredictable. It reminds me of chaos theory.) So whatever really does happen, human choices and responses will be part of the mix. And it will be a complex mix, with multiple effects interacting in unpredictable ways.

            (A side note on the proposition that “Seas are not going to rise fast enough to drown people in their beds.” In the big picture, that’s probably true. At least, I know what you mean. But in reality, people don’t experience the big picture. They experience particular floods at particular times and places. And at each of those times and places where coastal floods occur, SLR will have been part of the preconditions leading to the disaster. Katrina drowned people in their beds (or at least their attics.) To what extent did SLR contribute to that? What about Sandy? According to the CDC, 21 people drowned inside their homes. To what extent was SLR to blame there?


            (And we don’t need to be parochial. What about the 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6300?

            (It would be possible, but pointless, to multiply examples further. But what happens to such disasters in a world where mean SLR rate is 4.7 *centimeters* a year? That’s the lowest possible rate implied by a 4-meter rise occurring by 2100–ie., the high rise estimate in the WAIS collapse scenario. It’s also about 15 times the current rate.)

            Lastly, a comment on the idea of ‘going underground.’ This might well be ‘a thing’ in the more distant future:


            The projection was that by 2300, under ‘realistic scenarios’, most human-inhabited areas could be too hot to remain inhabitable, from a physiological perspective. There’s little to no chance of that happening this century, luckily, and even in a 12 C world, there’d be places where humans could live above ground. They’d all be in relatively high latitudes, but still.

            However, I don’t think that’s the realistic limit. If we can’t live outside, then probably neither can most of our domestic animals, so no milk, no hamburger, and so forth. We also can’t grow wheat, rice, or any of our other cereal crops in the kinds of volumes we need, because they are thermally limited, and because every agricultural operation from sowing to harvest would be impeded by the heat. (I’m imagining autonomous and remotely-piloted combines now–but while they may well become a real thing, too, I doubt they’d provide a complete answer to the problem.)

            Less directly, what ecosystem services that we need to grow those crops will we have lost in such a scenario? Pollinators? Nitrogen fixers? Soil building organisms of all sorts? And that’s not even considering the issues with water supply and extreme weather episodes of various sorts.

            In short, I think our biggest problem under extreme warming scenarios will be one of our most perennial ones: ensuring an adequate, or at least sort of adequate, food supply.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I was trying to say is that I can see nothing that suggests change won’t be gradual. There will be time to move “civilization” uphill and toward the poles/underground.

            I’m not seeing us losing control and experiencing a 12C hotter world. If that happens then all bets are off.

            I think, no, I’m pretty sure we’ll have to adapt to some extent. Even if we hit zero CO2 emissions by 2040 and figure out some ways to pull carbon back out of the atmosphere we’re not going to get out without experiencing some pain.

            What we should be thinking about, IMO, is a climate that is a max of 2C higher than today. That’s enough to make some parts of the globe unlivable. Those people will need to be relocated. Hopefully we can continue to lower fertility rates so that we can absorb those people without too much strain.

            If the change is gradual, spread over 50 to 100 years then we can build the infrastructure we need to move to less hot areas that have good water supplies.

            We will likely need to change our diets but I’m not sure of that. We are, for example, starting to grow meat in factory/lab settings. The problem with the meat we eat now is that we use about 25 pounds of vegetable protein to produce one pound of animal protein. We can short circuit that by taking animals out of the loop.

            Or we can all become vegans.

            If we have to grow all our food indoors then that’s what we’ll do. We already have that ability.

            We may well end up with a planet with far lower carrying capacity but we can carry on “civilization” with a small fraction of the population we have now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If the methane is released over a thousand years then it can be mitigated. After a few years methane (CH4) changes into CO2, the carbon bonds with atmospheric oxygen and the hydrogen is freed.

            We’ve given those who follow us the job of pulling CO2 down out of the atmosphere as natural capture won’t be fast enough. If that job is stretched out over 1,000 years then it’s likely manageable.

          • Epicurus

            Are you sure there will always be someone to follow the preceding generation?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know of anything likely to wipe out humans.

            I put the probably very low over the next hundreds of years.

          • nitpicker357

            The greatest natural predator on humans is humans. The population of predators is at an all-time high. War and its cousin, terrorism, have the potential to wipe out humans. Although the predators have been getting individually more deadly, the good news is that there is lots of work being done to figure out how to destroy the predator species.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You might want to watch fewer “action” movies. Or perhaps it’s the video games…. ;o)

  • Bob_Wallace

    2020 – cell price hits $100/kWh in the Gigafactory, possibly some other battery plants. EVs reach manufacturing cost parity with ICEVs.

    2022 – several new, very large battery plants start construction.

    2025 – market demand for EVs exceeds that of ICEVs.

    2030 – most new vehicle sales are battery powered.

    2040 – essentially no new ICEVs are manufactured. EVs greatly outnumber ICEVs on the world’s roads.

    It’s very likely we meet the 2020 target. If we do then it will be clear to vehicle manufacturers that it’s time to seriously change their product lines and that they will soon need enough batteries to build at large numbers of EVs per year. The rest should flow at a much faster rate than HSBC has imagined.

  • Alharbi

    Zack.. You know better than this.

    A “make sense” filter should be applied to all articles before posting them here in CT.

    • Epicurus

      Please elucidate.

      • Alharbi

        I mean the prediction mentioned in this article makes no sense, given all what we know about EVs and their current status. It is like posting an article that predicts the endurance of fossil fuel industry for the next two centuries. I know it is possible, but anything else is possible too and we don’t have time to talk about all possibilities. We merely have time to discuss what is probable.

  • Ross

    25 years ago modems were 14.4kbps if you were lucky. There was a small number of early adopters dialing into bulletin boards.

    Now everyone wants, even if they don’t have it yet, at least 1Gbps fibre to the home.

    In the next 25 years we’re going to see a transition every bit as dramatic, if not more so, to EV transportation.

  • MaartenV

    There is no new analyses in this report. It is just based on the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report that we have thrashed some time ago.

  • phineasjw

    Ridiculously low number. If EVs aren’t cheaper and superior to all ICE vehicles (long) before 2040, then all cost/improvement curves will have inexplicably flattened out.

    • Andy

      This. Once we reach 300 – 350 miles in an affordable, mass-market EV, it’s game over for ICE. And I don’t mean Tesla with that range – I mean a loser like Hyundai being able to package that kind of range in an inefficient configuration, using cheap batteries with lots of corner cutting. Once that happens, we’re there.

  • Hridayesh Gupta

    In a country like India, where the population is transitioning away from the poverty, not many own the cars. There is no attachment to the sound of gas engine or the love of fumes, like Americans have.

    Indian population will skip the ICE vehicles, like they did land line phones. No phones to cell phones.

    There is a strong possibility that government will be able to legislate out the ICE vehicles in a short(less than 10 years) time as they are not burdened with legacy behemoths like GM and ford.

    And do not be misled by pictures of Indian streets choked with vehicles, it is because traffic rules are avoided by everybody(few who own cars) to create a chaotic mess, so that the national passtime of honking horns can be enjoyed.

    • Bob_Wallace

      RE: Horn honking.

      Compared to Saigon you guys are wimps.

      • Hridayesh Gupta

        I yield to superior beings of Saigon. No disrespect was intended.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Trust me, it’s a contest you should be proud of not winning.

          I’d really like to see India building the sort of battery plant that could get prices down to $100/kWh or lower. That should open up the market for electric autorickshaws and affordable EVs.

          Electrifying autorickshaws would do so much for both air quality and noise. Aside from climate change problems, the quality of life along India’s roads should be much improved.

    • Epicurus

      Skip the ICE vehicles. Go India!

  • wattleberry

    That prediction looks profoundly pessimistic and depressing. It certainly doesn’t fit with Julian Cox’s cataclysmic reasoning made a week ago. By the time a third of new vehicles are electric they will be close to 100%,surely.

    • Yes, I think we should highlight it again in 10 years. 🙂

  • Shiggity

    If you did an economic mobility analysis of China you would find that most personal miles in that country are actually traveled by EV. (I’d have to look at other countries, but they are essentially a revolution in China.)

    The EV’s are not cars, they are electric bikes. 20-50 mile range, 15-25mph, capable of going anywhere a normal bike can has turned out to be the ultimate city combination.

    City bike sharing programs would probably work if the bikes were electric. People don’t want to pedal hard after working all day / when they’re tired in the morning. With an electric bike you press a button and go, pedal if you want, or don’t, your choice.

    Cars are overrated. Really they are just a headache to own in any major global city. Electric bikes literally skip 100% of regulatory fees associated to other vehicles that move at similar speeds through high urban densities.

    • Epicurus

      And people get exercise and breathe clean air. Great idea.

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