The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan on the WEF Calling for the End of Private Automobiles

The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan on the WEF Calling for the End of Private Automobiles

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in major changes and policies that aim to reinvent various facets of public society. Global entities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) drastically altered the healthcare system during the lockdowns, and another global organisation called the World Economic Forum (WEF) calls for re-shaping the international transportation system to make it more ecologically sustainable.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) calls for an end to private ownership of vehicles to reduce demands on fossil fuels and precious metals. According to the WEF, private ownership of vehicles is the biggest hindrance to achieving their goal of global ecological preservation.

Ending Private Vehicle Ownership

The WEF thinks fossil fuels and automobiles are the biggest causes of air pollution and climate change, so they will impose drastic control measures to avert further environmental damage. Cities produce up to 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with 30% of it coming from combustible vehicles.

Research data also shows that many people own cars they don’t actively use. For example, the average privately-owned car in England is only used 4% of the time, with up to 70% of the time parked at home and up to 23% idle in a parking space.

The WEF says the best way to reduce private vehicle ownership is to enact policies that promote and are in favour of communal and alternative transportation. The WEF proposes solutions such as promoting car-sharing apps, implementing shareable car technologies, and even re-design cityscapes and urban planning to encourage people to stop buying cars for personal use.

To encourage people to use their own cars less and eventually stop owning one, the WEF proposes the mainstream use of car-sharing apps such as GetAround and SG. These car-sharing apps not only help reduce carbon footprint but also enable people to earn extra income for sharing their cars.

The WEF also plans to extend this principle of communal-style resource sharing to more complex, city-wide scale arrangements, such as sharing homes and re-designing cities and urban landscapes that fully integrate recycling and resource maximisation across all community activity levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), another international organisation focused on tackling climate change, has directed governments worldwide to drastically reduce oil supply within their jurisdictions, and remind people to ditch their privately owned vehicles to halt climate change.

The IEA suggests a 10-Point Plan to help governments transition their citizens into relying less on privately owned vehicles and implement alternative transportation options.

The policy measures included in The 10-Point Plan include reducing speed limits, manufacturing more electric cars, allowing company employees to work from home three days a week, increasing bike and cycle lanes, car-free Sundays, cheaper and more efficient public transportation systems, and using long-distance trains instead of short-flight planes.

The Impending Shortage of Critical Metals

Shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires greater demand for critical metals, especially lithium, cobalt, and nickel. A shortage of these critical metals can increase the price of green energy technologies, such as rechargeable batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric car parts.

The World Bank reports that demand for critical metals could rise up to 500% in the next few years as society shifts from fossil fuel vehicles to electric battery cars. Although it seems that the best solution to critical metals shortage is to increase mining efforts, this also comes with its unique and potentially harmful side effects.

Common mining hazards include health risks and dangerous labour conditions for mining workers, contamination of natural lakes, ponds, rivers, and bodies of water from tailings (the slurry of leftover rocks and water after mining), biodiversity loss from the destruction of natural habitats, and geopolitical issues.

The WEF initially suggested recycling metals that are currently in circulation. However, the recyclable metals currently in circulation are not enough to meet this increasing demand.

Thus, the WEF is pushing for the concept of a ‘circular economy’. A circular economy requires a paradigm shift – mentally and economically – that goes beyond ordinary recycling. In a circular economy, the main goal is to extend and maintain a product’s usability and minimise wastage caused by a ‘throwaway culture’ of discarding a product after minimal use. Re-manufacturing and product maintenance are vital practices in a circular economy.

Some of the basic tenets of the WEF’s ‘circular economy’ include:

  • Minimising car and gadget ownership and incentivizing shared technologies. The WEF points out that ownership of ‘idle equipment’ such as extra cars and extra gadgets should gradually be shifted out in favour of shared technologies and services to free up space and resources. WEF argues that up to 39% of workers globally have employer-provided mobile phones, laptops, and one or more personal gadgets.
  • Car-sharing apps and technologies to make carpooling easier and more accessible to the public.
  • Automobile technologies such as keyless unlocking and car user profiles enable more than one person to use the same car.
  • Urban city planning measures such as adding more bike lanes and walkways on roads to encourage car-less transportation and make it more difficult to park cars in the street.
  • Implementing fees and charges for those who want to enter cities using their own cars, which also has surprisingly been effective in reducing traffic and congestion.
  • Company parking charges to discourage the use of private car parking for employees. Companies that have more than ten parking spaces are required to pay a fee to the government.
  • Workplace and university travel planning, such as funding school buses for students and company carpools for employees.
  • Opening ‘micro-factories’ designed to refurbish and re-purpose materials to extend a product’s usability beyond its shelf-life.

Ultimately, the goal of the WEF is to ‘Go from owning to using.’ The next few years will see an increase in concerted efforts from various government agencies to implement the reduction of car ownership through ‘car-less policies’ and incentives to increase communal and alternative transportation systems to halt climate change.

Curious to know how this might affect your financial security? Take the wise step of planning for your future by booking a free consultation with our expert financial advisors today at The Cutten Group Tokyo Japan.