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Transportation

The Grim State of Electric Vehicle Adoption in the U.S.

Plugging in cars and trucks will be critical to averting climate catastrophe, according to the IPCC. How far has the U.S. come?
Pittsburgh now boasts a fleet of city-owned electric vehicles.
Pittsburgh now boasts a fleet of city-owned electric vehicles.Keith Srakocic/AP

According to a new report from the United Nations’ scientific panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humanity has about 12 years to avoid the most dire consequences of climate change. To avert catastrophic sea level rise, food shortges, and widespread drought and wildfire, emissions must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels, and by 100 percent by 2050.

To accomplish this daunting feat, the global transportation sector will need a major overhaul. In the U.S., the world’s second-largest producer of greenhouse gases, transportation makes up the largest share of emissions. In cities, passenger vehicles and public transit fleets will have to move from fuel-burning engines to electrification, a “powerful measure to decarbonize short-distance vehicles,” according to the IPCC report.