China has been on a warpath to ban many different things lately. Recently the price of Bitcoin was affected drastically because of the country’s latest “we are banning Bitcoin” stunt, but also from its recent condemnation of ICOs and potential ban of cryptocurrency exchanges themselves. However, China’s love of banning things is not limited just to the financial sector. The country will likely ban the sale of fossil fuel cars soon as well.
A Noble Ban
While I think China’s recent banning binge is getting a bit out of hand – they even want to ban some soft cheeses – banning fossil fuel cars will have huge implications for global health and the environment. Many of us are familiar with the horrifying photos of the smog problems in major Chinese cities. It appears that the government is now very concerned with cleaning up the air and keeping it clean.
The proposal to ban polluting automobiles will be implemented in stages over the course of some years to allow automakers the opportunity to retool their factories and adjust their marketing strategies. This could very well set a new trend in the global automotive market considering how many cars are made in China. If one of the largest vehicle production countries in the world were to begin making only electric cars, many others may follow suit. A Japanese car company, Honda, is already working on building an all-electric vehicle for the Chinese market. This is just one example of how this ban will force the world to reconsider producing and using vehicles powered by combustion engines.
In an effort to provide even more of an incentive to go green, the Chinese government will provide generous subsidies to electric automotive makers. There also will likely be a cap and trade system put in place for companies to buy or sell emission quantities in order to help them along the way.
This comes at a time when many other nations are showcasing their plans to meet mandated emissions cuts by 2030. China has already taken on some of the more drastic cuts in its production and manufacturing sector. Frankly, it is impressive to see China do this so readily when certain western nations continue to drag their feet the entire way.
Will It Be Enough?
While it is great in my mind that China is looking to ban fossil fuel-powered cars, I also know that the electricity required to charge those batteries has to come from somewhere. China’s electricity production is still very heavily reliant on fossil fuels. The country is working on rolling these back as well, but it is still something to consider. If everyone driving a car in China were suddenly to charge his or her vehicle, that would add a previously unknown strain on the power grid. Power plants would likely have to increase their production and output just to meet the demand from all those vehicles. This may just serve to offset the carbon cost from one industry to another. Regardless, it is an interesting development and one of the more sane bans that China has announced recently.