<aside> 📌 Meet our investment in this space: Ember
The transportation sector is responsible for around one-fifth of global CO2 emissions (over 8 billion tonnes annually), and more than half of that comes from moving people from place to place. Per passenger-km, short-distance flights are definitely the worst offender when it comes to CO2 emissions (especially for short-duration flights), but when it comes to reducing overall emissions from transportation, it is clear that the best path forward is to move people away from car trips.
People are driving more than ever before. The average car contributes 4.6 tonnes of CO2 annually, which adds up to around 3 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, up from 2.2 billion tonnes in 2000.
Source: Visual Capitalist, Feb 2022
Beyond emissions, there are also health concerns associated with our increasing reliance on fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Exhaust fumes are a top source of pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, ozone, and soot.
<aside> ⚠️ According to the World Health Organization, outdoor air pollution [kills 4.2 million people](https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health#:~:text=Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in,and respiratory disease%2C and cancers.) annually.
Public transportation options that carry many passengers are much better for the climate than personal vehicles, even electrified ones. Still, in the EU, about 10x more passenger travel is done by car than by train, and 87% of all travel in the US is by car or light truck. The fact is, we have built our lives around cars, and we need a better way to move people around.
Source: EU Mobility Atlas 2021
<aside> ⚠️ Expanding public transportation and reducing our dependence on personal vehicles is the only way to ensure the decarbonization of transportation.
Not everyone can afford a personal electric vehicle, and even if they could, the resource demands of switching the world’s cars over to electric motors are currently out of grasp (certainly in a sustainable and just way). If demand for EVs continues as projected, the US market alone would require three times the current global production of lithium by 2050. And while there is theoretically enough lithium on Earth to meet those demands, getting to it and extracting it sustainably is another story.
<aside> ⚠️ Lithium: Demand for lithium is expected to rise by over 40x by 2040, and the world is facing a lithium shortage by 2025 if production does not increase. Not because of a shortage in the natural supply of lithium but because we will face difficulties extracting what is there. Extracting lithium requires a lot of water, and more than half of lithium production is in water-stressed regions.
The battery for one electric bus requires about 44 kg of lithium. If you figure that one bus sits about 40 people, let’s look at the amount of lithium required for each of those 40 people to have their own personal EV:
|Vehicle type||Li required||x 40|
|Midsize EV||8 kg||320 kg|
|EV SUV||24 kg||960 kg|