One of the important changes that needs to take place in the global energy system as it heads towards much lower emissions is electrification. This is the increasing use of electricity as final energy (i.e. the energy we all use to deliver services) rather than fossil fuels, such as natural gas for cooking and gasoline for mobility. According to the IEA, electricity made up nearly 19% of final energy use in 2015, with the bulk of the 81% that isn’t electricity being oil products, natural gas, coal and biomass. The Shell scenario work on a net zero emissions world indicates that electricity should exceed 50% of final energy use.

Over the course of the last few decades, electrification of final energy has moved relatively slowly, at around 2 percentage points per decade (i.e. it was about 16.5% in 2005 and 14.4% in 1995). This rate of change is far below what is necessary to reach 50+% during the second half of the century – in fact, at the current rate it would take over one and half centuries to get above 50%. Therefore, the rate of electrification of the final energy system has to approximately triple over the coming few years for the Paris goals to be approached. At the same time, overall expansion of the energy system also has to be catered for, which might see a near doubling in final energy demand, even as electrification brings considerable efficiency gains.

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A coalition of global corporations, including Unilever, Ikea and shipping giant DHL, launched a global campaign today to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and away from gas- and diesel-powered transportation—which generates almost a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and has been the fastest growing emissions source.

Since more than half of the cars on the road belong to companies, the new EV100 coalition could have a major impact. It aims to do for EVs and electric car charging infrastructure what coalitions such as the RE100 are already doing to encourage corporate purchasing of clean energy (and thus motivating development of new solar and wind power).

EV100's goal is to send a signal to automakers that there is mass demand for electric vehicles before 2030, when current forecasts suggest global uptake will start to really ramp up.

"We want to make electric transport the normal," said Helen Clarkson, CEO for The Climate Group, the international nonprofit spearheading the effort.

Government pressure is already adding to that signal in Europe and Asia: France and the UK have given automakers a 2040 deadline to end the sale of new gas-powered cars; China recently indicated it would set its own deadline; India has suggested it is moving toward 100 percent electric vehicles; and Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted last month that Germany may follow suit. Automakers have been responding by expanding their EV fleets, as showcased at last week's Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Nos próxmos dias, o consumidor europeu terá a oportunidade de apreciar, no salão do automóvel de Frankfurt, que abre ao público amanhã, uma vitrine de inovação tecnológica automotiva e exemplos de um dos maiores saltos vistos nesse setor desde que Henry Ford inventou a linha de montagem. A reinvenção do carro em si, da energia que o move e a mudança no seu uso revolucionam essa indústria.

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