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COP21 Part 1: Context & role of the US

December 2, 2015 | Kristof Vereenooghe

More than 30,000 people have gathered in Paris for the COP21 climate negotiations. 140+ world-leaders, NGO’s, national governments, and business leaders will try to form an agreement to slow down climate change.

A global breakthrough agreement is not expected in Paris. However, a collective understanding will show the urgency of climate change as well as individual commitment by states for carbon reductions producing a positive impact on the clean energy economy. It's probably no coincidence that the Breakthrough Energy Coalition led by Bill Gates and supported by a large group of corporate and venture capital, just announced on November 28 that they will together to commercialize clean energy innovations to move our carbon footprint toward zero.

On Sunday in Paris, U.S. President Obama stated: "I've come here personally, as the leader of the world's largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it." The U.S. Clean Action Plan mandates the country to reduce its carbon footprint 30 percent by 2025. This carbon footprint goal is reliant upon the EV industry’s goal of getting one million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2020. These targets are made possible by the rapid price reduction of lithium ion batteries for EVs and the leadership position of active states such as California, who open up the EV market and create opportunities for companies like EVBox.

The biggest barrier for mass EV adoption is still the limited availability of EV chargers. Currently in California, there's a ratio of 18 EVs to one publicly accessible EV charger. To overcome this barrier, the U.S. government is stimulating open EV infrastructure with a special focus on workplace charging. The DOE Workplace Charging Challenge sets out to increase the amount of EV charging spots at businesses tenfold by 2018. California expects to install up to 70,000 workplace chargers over the next few years.

Looping back to the Paris negotiations, individual states are taking responsibility for their CO2 footprint. The fast growing EV industry will make it easier to reach these goals as an EV can absorb flexible, clean, energy production from solar and wind power, reducing tailpipe emissions. EVs are here to stay; we at EVBox want to push this industry forward.

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