NewsTobacco-style advert for SUVs imperative to tackle climate change...

Tobacco-style advert for SUVs imperative to tackle climate change in UK, report suggests


A new report undertaken by climate charity Possible notes that in order to meet Climate Goal 2050, Britain must ban promoting big SUVs detrimental to the environment.

Advertising Sports Utility Vehicles that have a greater emission quotient than other average cars must be stopped in the UK if at all the climate goal must be met, the report said. The government of UK has set 2050 as a target to achieve net-zero emissions.

2018 analysis by the International Energy Agency found SUVs are the second-biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, as the demand for the typical vehicle grows around the world.

The Possible report argues manufacturers of polluting SUVs are aggressively advertising their products in the UK car market which is bearing an unwanted implication.

Tobacco-style advert for SUVs imperative to tackle climate change in UK, report suggests

The bigger and heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it burns, thereby more emission.

In the UK, SUV market shares continue to be dominant at 40%, although lesser than the US, where pickups and SUVs grab almost 70% market share.

In contrast, only 2% of the market share belongs to fully electric vehicles in the UK. Around the world there are 200 million SUVs as recorded until 2019, a sharp uptick from a meagre 35 million SUVs of 2010, Statista reports confirm.

The Guardian noted, in the UK more than 150,000 new full-sized SUVs are on road, vehicles that are too large for average parking lots.

Sales of full-size SUVs have skyrocketed in the last few years, the report noted, jeopardizing climate goals. It calls for tobacco-style add campaigns to raise awareness.

Tobacco-style advert for SUVs imperative to tackle climate change in UK, report suggests

The 42-page report, titled ‘Smoking Out Climate’ highlights and emphasises how ‘gas-guzzling’ vehicles compare ‘oddly close’ with the perils of smoking and using tobacco, and how harnessing a similar strategy of warning, like on tobacco packages could work.

“Tobacco causes damage to the consumers, and tobacco companies benefit from the way that they hook their most loyal customers … SUVs are marketed as providing protection for drivers, [but] their physical size, weight and pollution levels create a more dangerous and toxic urban environment for both drivers and pedestrians,” the report says drawing an analogy with the thriving tobacco industry.

The tobacco industry has come a long way since the days of using doctors to advertise smoking. “More doctors smoke *this brand* than any other cigarette” adverts would read back in the 1950s.

Things finally took the turn for the better in 1962 after the prestigious Royal College of Physicians of the UK published a report recommending restricted tobacco advertisement.

The Switch to future

The report suggests the key to the UK government’s ‘zero-emission goal’ by 2050 lies with more and more drivers successfully adopting cleaner and greener vehicles like electric cars, ditching traditional petrol and diesel vehicles.

“That is now starting to happen, but there’s a problem: we’ve been switching to buying SUVs even faster, and as a result, the average carbon emissions of a new car sold in the UK have been going up instead of down for the past four years,” authors of the report said, according to the Guardian.

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Unsplash / Electric vehicles are the future of emission-free world / Tobacco-style advert for SUVs imperative to tackle climate change in UK, report suggests

Speaking with the media, Possible campaigner Robbie Gillett mentioned how SUV ads are ‘misleading’ as they market ‘freedom and escape,’ but the harsh truth remains unanswered, that toxic air pollution, traffic jams and skyrocketing carbon emissions is pushing further away from climate goals.

“Let’s create space to breathe and space to think – free from the advertising pressures of big polluters.,” Gillett said.

Cover image courtesy of @thebeardbe via Unsplash, edited by WeTheWorld Magazine staff)


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