Renault-Nissan CEO Speaks Of Importance Of Paris Climate Change Deal

NOV 11 2015 BY MARK KANE 46

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn presenting IDS Concept

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn presenting IDS Concept

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn published a post discussing the importance of the United Nation’s COP21 climate conference in Paris, which is supported by Alliance EVs.

Ghosn hopes for a new, broad global agreement on the climate change, strongly believing that we should deal with environment impact.

As an example for the automotive industry, Ghosn shows 800 million vehicles on the world’s roads, which will grow to more than 2 billion by 2050, according to expectations.

We cannot continue to rely only on fossil fuels to power those vehicles and supply the bulk of our energy if we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

The truth is that not all agree on climate change, or on the humans’ role in climate change, and we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already). This is the main topic of balancing costs and environment impact.

In one of other conferences, Ghosn said clearly that some people are asking about profitability of electric cars after the automaker’s $5 billion investment, while sales are still small (relative to sales of all cars), his answer is that the automaker can afford the investment because overall the company is profitable, which shuts the mouths of some shareholders. If company had bad luck with earnings, the question of whether it should continue to make electric cars would be back on the table – “it’s not easy“.

As in the case of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, all companies, and countries have similar problems – what can we do to have cleaner world, and how do we make that transition without harming the economy?

Paris climate change deal is critical for smooth transition to a low carbon economy – by Carlos Ghosn

In his latest LinkedIn Influencer post, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn says the world can achieve a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy if negotiators work out a strong global agreement to combat climate change at the upcoming COP21 climate change conference in Paris. He argues that a binding agreement, properly structured, could unleash growth and a major wave of innovation.”

“Representatives of the world’s nations will gather in Paris soon to set a course that could determine if we avoid the worst potential effects of global climate change.

If successful, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP21, will result in a new, legally binding global agreement to combat climate change, charting a course toward a low-carbon, green economy powered by renewable energy.

The government policymakers, diplomats and elected officials who will gather in Paris in early December know the consequences of doing nothing will be dire, including more floods, intense heat waves, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes. They know climate change does not respect borders. It affects every country.

The goal is to limit global average warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius increase by the end of the century; the challenge is how to do that. Reaching a global, binding agreement will not be easy, but the business community recognizes the need for an orderly, predictable and planned transition.

The country-by-country commitments that will comprise the Paris agreement, by themselves, will not be enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that limits global warming. The support of the business community is mandatory.

And let’s be clear: The transition to a low-carbon economy will occur one way or another. It will either be an orderly transition over the next two to three decades, or a disorderly one, spurred by crises and human hardship. Further delay in taking global action will only ensure the latter.

An orderly transition is one that occurs within the existing financial and economic system. It does not threaten or overwhelm the foundation of our market economy. It does not require aggressive government intervention and centralized demand and control.

An orderly transition provides an opportunity to create many winners, because adaptive and innovative companies will flourish. If corporations, the markets and entrepreneurs have a clear signal that an orderly transition to a low-carbon, green economy is more certain, through an ambitious global climate agreement, the needed investments and innovations will occur.

At the latest G7 meeting in Bavaria, world leaders took a step towards setting this direction by pledging to phase out fossil fuel emissions by the end of this century. This also made it clear to corporations and the markets that low-carbon technologies hold the promise of being profitable long-term investments.

Many business leaders have already recognized the commercial and economic benefits of taking action now on climate change. In the auto industry, for example, there has been considerable innovation and investment in zero-emission vehicles, though more is needed.

Today there are about 800 million vehicles on the world’s roads. By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more than 2 billion. We cannot continue to rely only on fossil fuels to power those vehicles and supply the bulk of our energy if we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The auto industry already has proven and affordable solutions to wean drivers off our addiction to fossil fuels. The most prominent, ready and affordable solution is the electric vehicle, the only zero-emissions vehicle that can be powered with purely renewable energy.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the first automaker to offer a full range of electric vehicles. We recently sold our 250,000th EV, and today more than half the EVs on the road globally were produced by the Alliance. The photo at the top of this page is of Nissan’s IDS Concept that was unveiled at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, and features the latest advances in EV and autonomous drive technology.

At the COP21 conference, the Alliance will have the largest fleet of zero-emission cars ever assembled for an international conference (read more here).

While I’m proud of our EV leadership, I know it’s not nearly enough. Zero-emissions vehicles remain a tiny fraction of the overall vehicle market.

Other automakers are now joining us with new EVs, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell electric cars, which are helping to expand the market for zero- and low-emission vehicles. When there are more players there’s more competition, and competition stimulates demand.

Many governments around the world are helping stimulate demand for EVs with various incentives, from cash for trading in old, polluting cars, to free parking and EV access to bus and high-occupancy lanes. We are also working daily with governments and businesses to expand the charging infrastructure that’s necessary if EVs are to go mainstream. In places where such investments have taken place, such as Norway and the U.S. city of Atlanta, customers have reacted positively and sales have grown rapidly.

By investing in green innovation, companies can create value for their future while playing a major role in fighting the threat climate change poses. In fact, according to the latest New Climate Economy Report, produced by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the global market for low-carbon and environmental goods and services is worth more than $5.5 trillion.

This kind of investment will continue to grow. It has already helped many businesses create competitive advantages, build stability, and better position themselves for future challenges.

The U.N. Secretary General recently said that we are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last to be able to do anything to stop it. This is a call to action, and I urge the world’s governments to meet that challenge this year.

Many corporations already have taken action on climate change because we recognize the consequences of not doing so. But we also appreciate the economic benefits such investments generate, including new innovations and opportunities for growth.

A global climate agreement, properly structured, could unleash growth and a major wave of innovation globally. The Paris Climate Conference can serve as a significant milestone on the road towards decarbonization, which will spur growth and jobs.

I look forward to all the countries of the world making strong commitments to climate action in the months ahead.

(Versions of this essay originally appeared Oct. 23 in the Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan and Oct. 29 in The Japan News)”

Categories: Nissan, Renault

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46 Comments on "Renault-Nissan CEO Speaks Of Importance Of Paris Climate Change Deal"

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The harm to the economy by letting climate change happen is exponentially higher than switching to clean energy. I don’t think that’s still in question.

yup, the cost of unaddressed climate change will be orders of magnitude larger than the cost of decarbonizing the world’s economy.

This: “…we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already).” makes no sense when it’s free to dump climate destabilizing pollution, with its ENORMOUS hidden costs to the commons, into the atmosphere.

“exponentially higher”

That sounds all sciency, but it is meaningless. You would be more accurate to just say “much higher”.

Fibb’s “orders of magnitude” actually means something, and still sounds sciency.

Building a levy around Miami/FT Lauderdale will be on order of magnatude more expensive than the $5BN Renault/Nissan spent on their EV program.

Building levies around all the other coastal cities around the world will be exponentially more expensive than that.

Actually, Miami cannot be saved at all. The earth underneath it is pourous and walls are useless. Florida’s water supplies will be contaminated by salt, and the population will have to be greatly reduced.

With other cities, there might be ways to make walls perform multiple useful functions, like tidal/wave energy collection. My idea is to ring the city with a giant Quonset hut, which is then covered in earthen terraces on which prefabricated housing is secured to the underlying metal. The interior will keep bicyclists and pedestrians dry, and provide a huge parking garage where tourists will park before proceeding into the car-free inner city.

It still is meaningless.

What exponent do you want to use? It could be 2, or e, or 10 or something else. Let’s say 2. We could also say it takes $100,000,000 to build a sea wall. What is 2^$100,000,000? What is even 2^$1? I don’t know how to answer that.

The real answer is building sea walls around all the major cities, however ineffective, would be many thousands of times as much.

Ghosn is one of the few CEOs who has the integrity and courage to point out that our current passenger car transportation system is unsustainable. And make the investment and commitment required to offer a viable alternative.

Mr. Ghosn,

Please release the eNV200 electric cargo van into the wilds of America, and Canada too.

We need this van. And with varying size battery packs.

I do not want to purchase another gasmobile for my electrical service business. Electric transport is how I want to move towards the future.

Forward, into the Past!

All the best,
Retro Electric

30KW version would really work in the commercial space!

That 60kwhr pack they showed at Tokyo would be even better!

Offering it at all would be better than the current situation, regardless of any drawbacks.

I’m in the same business and also share the same hope for using electric commercial vehicle as a statement about the way thing should be heading.

Ghosn speaks the truth.

Coal fired power plants, steel making, cement all are huge emitters of CO2 as well.

And they all need cleaned up, just like a VW TDI Engine. Your point?

IMO EVs are a reasonable replacement for ICE cars. And coal fired power plants are methodically being replaced by renewables. But how would you replace steel making or cement? You are correct that they both emit CO2, but how do you clean them up? I’m not being smart here, I am asking. Both steel and cement are an integral part of modern society, so I don’t think doing without them is a reasonable option.

For cement I’d argue that you can use less of it. It is a material that can be replaced by others in many types of construction. There would be an incentive to do this if there were a carbon tax.

Steel is harder to reduce, though I note that one big steel consumer, the oil industry, which buries thousands of tons of high-grade steel pipe into wells every year, where they are lost and cannot be recovered, would be gone.

But at any rate your point is a good one in that it’s clear that some CO2 emission is impossible to avoid. The only way to resolve that is with offsets. Offsets are not viable for our current CO2 emission inventory, but if we eliminate utility power and transport, offsets can certainly cover activities like steel and cement manufacturing.

I haven’t googled much about steel production, but there are several options in the cement space – A quick Google lead to one option with a 30-40% CO2 reduction


Also, making cement takes LARGE amounts of energy, mainly in the form of heat for kilns for calcination of limestone and clays – How you get that heat (NG, Coal, Nuclear, etc.) can happen in multiple ways, some of which are not CO2 producers

IronKast has engineered Ferrock, a new patented concrete technology based on iron carbonate that uses a majority of recycled materials (up to 95%) to create a Less Expensive, Stronger, More Flexible and CARBON NEGATIVE concrete that grows stronger in salt water environments.

Electrolytic steel is a possibility. It would probably cost in the same ball park as aluminum, but that’s an expense we may have to absorb.

Thanks for all the research guys. I don’t know much about steel, but I am very familiar with cement as I have worked in the building materials industry for 20 years now. Many of your points are valid. Cement is very energy intensive to produce and not all of that energy needs to be generated by fossil fuels. However, the calcination process requires temperatures over 2000 degrees F, which I believe are hard to reach economically without fossil fuels. Also the calcination process itself releases CO2 in order to change calcium carbonate (aka limestone) into calcium oxide. So even if you could change the fuel mix you still produce a bunch of CO2 with cement. As for cement alternatives in construction there really aren’t many good ones for most applications. For concrete roads the best alternative is asphalt, which of course uses asphaltic cement, a product derived from oil production (so more dead dinosaurs). For concrete framed buildings and bridges, the best alternative is steel, which we already established as something we want to minimize. There are some new products and procedures coming onto the market to reduce the carbon effect of cement, including one that supposedly traps carbon and… Read more »

Ghosn is a really impressive CEO. He isn’t afraid to lead on hard topics. Also he seems to understand his company, its technology, using it to have a clear vision. I don’t get the impression he leads by looking at MBA school textbook spreadsheets and hiring consultants to make decisions.

Those things seem to be rare at fortune 500 type companies these days.

In the Auto world, he and Musk clearly standout. I would say he has a much harder job than Musk at this point, given the size and complexity of the Renault-Nissan organization.

The author of the article, Mr Mark Kane on the other hand seems to feel the need to treat us to his pseudo philosophy, viz:

“The truth is that not all agree on climate change, or on the humans’ role in climate change, and we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already)”.

To Mr. Kane: The book has been closed on that nonsense for a long time now.
Spreading such obfuscation has no place here.
Time to accept it and move on.

Indeed. I wonder if InsideEVs will treat us to their opinions on whether the Earth is actually a sphere, or whether NASA really did send astronauts to the moon. Not everyone agrees on that either.

Not to speak for everyone writing at InsideEVs, but I am pretty sure we all fully embrace the realities of climate change, and in the accepted norms (cause/effect) of today’s scientific community.

…here is the thing. For an author to state those CC conclusions bluntly/as a definitive reality in a published piece, would be to set off a comment/community war over the topic – and likely over run any discussion on the actual topic of the article at hand.

The last time someone did for example, a 75-deep sub-thread kicked off. We are just trying to keep a professional distance/neutrality, and not turn it into an “op-ed”-like reactionary discussion.

That was then, this in now. As has been stated here by others, the case of Anthropogenic Climate Change is closed. Perpetuating it as an unresolved issue, is nothing short of blatantly deceitful.

The main issue now, is figuring just how bad things are now going to be. The time to have stopped dumping CO2 was back in the early 80’s.

Personally, I’m shocked that you are concerned about generating reader response to the subject. Does this blog / community not thrive on active discussion (and ad revenue)? Perhaps you are rewarding an improper response by letting it influence your reporting, here?

Also, I wouldn’t expect Exxon’s social media people to FUD your site anymore, since they’ve been caught covering up their own research results proving their products basically destroy the world as we know it, since the 70’s.

Blog on Folks. Blog on.

Glad you responded in this way Jay. What the author said is 100% accurate; the truth is that not everyone agrees on the issue of climate change. While most readers on this site feel very strongly about AGW, not everyone does. The author was simply writing an unbiased article, something that seems quite rare in modern media. Hat tip to both of you.


Mark, so how about wording like this: “whole not everyone is in aggreement over the man made effects and thier influence on global warming and climate change, few doubt that pollution from transportation using traditional ICE powered vehicles is greater and worse than transpotation driven by a gradually, but steadilly cleaner grid, which in certain areas are already less than 10% powered by conventional fuels of coal or oil/natural gas.”

How does that sound as a balanced disclaimer?

And, while more than 25% of the US Grid seems to be coal powered, there are new technologies being developed in concert with electric vehicles that will reduce the need for natural gas peaking plants, and over time, may also cut into the arena of base load coal power, due to wind, solar, micro hydro, grid level and local energy storage, and energy management tools.

Basically, if it is deadly to leave a ICE car running in a closed garage, there shold be not much argument over how healthy such drive trains are for us!

The Media’s place should not be about pandering to how someone “feels” about Climate Change: the data supporting it– is irrefutable. Only the Media continues to spoon feed the masses, in hopes of not upsetting people who refuse to believe in Science. This is NOT how you rally Humanity to improve the current situation we face.

Cherry picking a subject for your own end, isn’t any different than people taking the Koran and using it to justify Terrorism. The comparison is easy: Climate Change deniers are essentially Eco-Terrorists.


I think this logic held true until quite recently, if only for the sake of comity. But given the news, now verified and under investigation, that Exxon’s own scientists clearly identified and warned management about climate change starting over 30 years ago, I think you need to update this policy.

Stating that climate AGW is somehow still controversial is a little bit like continuing to state that there is no agreement on the effects of nicotine, after it became clear that industry not only knew about it but manipulated dosage to maximize sales.

Even the denier OpEd industry is shifting gears. The new theme is adaptation. You will see more of this type of phrasing “humans are adaptable”, “we will adapt”, etc. See this:, written by a former BP employee.

While I appreciate that their are right-leaning EV drivers posting here, the facts behind AGW are beyond questioning now.

The facts should be stated as such and individuals who choose to disagree can “go down with the ship” (meaning the Republican/Tea Party/Koch Brothers, etc.) if they choose.

However, it is a matter of survival that AGW be fully acknowledged and addressed lest we and all our descendants all “go down with the ship” that is our planet.

The bad guys’ plan is not to go down with the ship, but to be the lords of the lifeboat… or more accurately a giant 4th-world resource plantation. People like the Kochs spend big on politics because right now they’re small-time in their world of globalized capital, but the big-timers will abandon America and leave it to their Far Right allies to oversee. You know, like a slave overseer. If the richest man in the world got rich selling newspapers to impoverished Mexicans, then consider how much money a few oligarchs can make exploiting a ruined country full of armed people looking for scapegoats.

Jay, journalists don’t report on difficult topics like Climate Change by adding up all the lies and dividing by two. That’s not ‘neutrality’ or ‘distance’, that’s amateurism. Your goal is accuracy and clarity. If a reporter is out of his depth on a complex issue, then don’t have him cover it. But to suggest climate change is still a “he said, she said” mixed bag of equal opinions? That’s inaacurate, harmful and so ten years ago.


Not “he said/she said”, Mark said “not all agree on climate change”, that’s a big difference. This is exactly the lose-lose. Mark tried his best to not make it an issue/keep neutral and let people just discuss the article itself, and now we are already 15 deep off-topic as some feel he did an injustice (or not a good enough job) in doing so. If Mark came out and expressed climate change (and humans cause and effect) as certainty (with 98% of the rest of the world), we’d be closing in on 100 topics on that by now – with probably another 50 or so comments hitting moderation due to extreme reactions/profanities/personal insults, etc. that drag the whole thing down into a dog fight. That being said, I understand/sympathize with all the opinions expressed – I certainly experience many of the same emotions. The vast, vast majority of everyone here is on the same page, I think we all know that. The other option is we don’t attempt to stay neutral in the story at all, and then turn the comments off…as we just refuse to let the community turn into a blood-bath with heavy moderation chopping it all up,… Read more »

Just use factual phrases, like:

“in a world where even Exxon scientists have found that fossil fuels will drive climate change”

Attempting to adopt a neutral position is in itself not a neutral thing to do, because it implies as equivalent things that are not.

Jay wrote:

…here is the thing. For an author to state those CC conclusions bluntly/as a definitive reality in a published piece, would be to set off a comment/community war over the topic – and likely over run any discussion on the actual topic of the article at hand.

The last time someone did for example, a 75-deep sub-thread kicked off. We are just trying to keep a professional distance/neutrality, and not turn it into an “op-ed”-like reactionary discussion.

I personally find that bizarre reasoning for making AGW appear controversial when it’s not… oh well.

The real problem with article is this sentence: “we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already)”

It’s just certainly wrong on a big picture scale (because AGW is very expensive, as many recent studies have shown), and in time, it will also be wrong at a individual consumer level. Transportation will only get cheaper for the individual when cleaner and more efficient self driving, EV cars dominate.

I agree, I think Ghosn is a pretty impressive, realistic CEO. I think he would have little patience for “I’m not a scientist”, “The jury’s still out” or “We can’t act until country X acts”. The main reason I waited a year and a half on the waiting list to buy a Leaf in 2012 was to reward Nissan for having the courage to actually bring a mass production EV to market.

He said that the volunteer Nissan employees driving Leafs were his best ambassadors at COP21. If COP21 were being held in Washington DC, I would offer the services of the owner/drivers of EVADC, the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC (, who are a group of unpaid “regular folks” who do several public educational events each year promoting EV’s of all makes. Car makers could present a more authentic down-to-earth message if they harnessed the enthusiasm and passion of their customers. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world!

“The truth is that not all agree on climate change, or on the humans’ role in climate change, and we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already). This is the main topic of balancing costs and environment impact.” Is that the truth? I don’t think it is. Fossil fuels are not really that cheap and haven’t been for some time, especially if fully costed in terms of the environmental degradation they cause, even without the climate change part of that. Evidence of the high cost of these fuels is that they receive huge global subsidies from nearly all governments in one form or another. It is already very clear that running an electric car is far cheaper than running a fossil car, even in countries like the US where fossil fuels are subsidized and under very light taxation. The problem isn’t that using new solutions would “cost more”, the problem is that using new solutions would cost a great deal to specific, entrenched, and very powerful interests. When Exxon says that a carbon tax would be bad for the economy, they mean >their< economy. Another feature… Read more »

Its actually much more invasive then traditional lobbying. The Koch heads for instance are actively attempting to control the Republican/Tea Party and be the ultimate kingmakers in that regard.


This idea that evolution is costly to “real” Americans is also being indoctrinated to damn social reform. Before 1976 opposition to abortion was entirely a Catholic issue, but a brilliant barnstorming campaign by right-wingers Francis Schaeffer & C. Everett Koop transformed rank & file Evangelicals so quickly that their clergymen scrambled to catch up and then rewrote their history to pretend that they had always opposed abortion. The key message they used was that the evil, urban, multicultural world was trying to eradicate “our kind”, older rural Christians, and that it would inevitably culminate in forced euthanasia by big liberal government. You can see how ANY attempt to change the country opposed by the domestic oligarchy & its theocratic allies will be painted to trigger this sort of paranoia, which gets stronger the fewer white Christians there are. A minority of armed, property-owning people who hysterically convince themselves that they are the victims of genocide can easily overwhelm a low voter turnout democracy, as happened in South Africa in 1948. So no, we haven’t begun to see how low the oligarchy will sink. Their disciplined zombie army will bully the rest of us into censoring ourselves regardless of the evidence.

“….we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already). This is the main topic of balancing costs and environment impact.”

Sorry, but I also think this is a pretty weak statement. Mark, being efficient is generally cheaper. “Must” we fail to see this? I never understood the 70’s psychology, that had poorer people driving the least efficient boats. If I thought in relation to cost, “otherwise everybody would use them already”, they wouldn’t have. Would they?

It is the level of presupposition, that I think grabbed many of us. Does considering the environment always come at a cost? I see a lot of resistance to doing things differently, but without the squishy future costs, I still see lower life cycle costs in multiple products, ones that happen to also agree with the environment.

I got no problem with that.

“….we must remember that using new solutions to be more environment friendly will cost us more (otherwise everybody would use them already).”

I think the fact that so many people base decisions on purchase price without regard for total cost of ownership illustrates the fallacy of this statement.