Growing up, I have always been interested in cars. I could tell engines, models and makes apart just from the sound they made.
There aren't many things that excite me more than a Corvette with a roaring V8, or a Porsche 911 carving the tarmac of the Nürburgring.
Even now, my dream car is a 1967 Shelby GT500. But it is time for me to realise that I cannot make that dream a reality with a clear conscience.
My love for cars that purr and roar is not nearly as important as the climate crisis that we face.
Every year, human activity causes the emission of around 40 billion metric tonnes of 'carbon-dioxide equivalents' (CO2e).
According to the European Green Deal, carbon emissions from transportation account for approximately 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Data from the International Energy Agency suggests that about 74.5% of those emissions come from road-going vehicles, resulting in approximately 7.9 billion metric tonnes of CO2e.
If all vehicles magically turned electric, then approximately one-fifth of all carbon emissions would vanish.
This harmful process is caused by the ignition of diesel or petrol fuel in an internal combustion engine.
The internal combustion engine ignites fuel in a chamber along with an oxidiser (most often oxygen from the atmosphere funnelled in through an air intake, but sometimes nitrous oxide), which in itself is the combustion.
This process creates carbon monoxide, which is then released through the exhaust into the air.
Carbon monoxide is a catalyst for chain reactions in the atmosphere that bond with oxygen molecules to form carbon dioxide.
Almost all road-going cars are powered by an internal combustion engine, although this number is slowly decreasing with the introduction and innovation of electric cars.
The process of powering an electric car is relatively simple—every car has a battery and an electric motor, and the battery powers the electric motor. The best part? They are zero-emission vehicles.
However, it is expensive to produce an all electric car. So, many manufacturers are producing hybrid vehicles, which combine an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
Although this still results in the poisonous gas spewing out of vehicles, it is significantly lower than cars with only internal combustion engines.
On average, hybrid cars emit around half the amount of carbon monoxide than a car with an internal combustion engine.
Unfortunately, hybrid and electric vehicles only make up around 2% of the vehicles on the road across the globe.
However, sales of electrified vehicles are increasing, accounting for almost five% of the global market share in 2020, and almost 50% in some markets.
Governments around the world are enacting legislation to encourage the sale of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Many countries have specific tax laws which reduce the rate of taxation on hybrid vehicles in order to encourage the sales of these vehicles.
Even the Bangladeshi government continues to reduce the import duty on hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles with each passing year.
Many countries, including the United Kingdom, offer incentives to consumers who buy fully electric vehicles.
The British capital has implemented tolls on certain roads, called a congestion charge. However, if a car produces no carbon emissions, then they will not have to pay a toll.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is taking it a step further by declaring the entire central London area an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Certain portions of the freeways within the State of California have High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which can only be used by cars with two or more passengers.
However, this law does not apply to zero-emission vehicles, which can use HOV lanes regardless of passenger count.
While many governments, including the Bangladeshi government are offering incentives and tax reductions in order to increase the sales of hybrid and electric vehicles, it is necessary to decisively put an end to the production of vehicles with the internal combustion engine.
In order to reduce the consumer's ability to buy and contribute to the climate crisis, we must aggressively tax any vehicle with an internal combustion engine, including hybrid vehicles in the future.
Of course, taxation on fossil fuels must increase with the implementation of carbon taxes. One way to do this is by implementing the carbon fee and dividend, as proposed by the Climate Citizens' Lobby.
Governments around the world must heavily subsidise the production of fully electric vehicles, as one of the main barriers to clean air vehicles is the high cost of production.
Governments must bear a large portion of the cost of producing and acquiring materials such as lithium, iron, and nickel, which are required to create lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
While it is impossible to stop producing fuel-based vehicles immediately, it is possible to phase them out over time.
In fact, from 2030 onwards, the United Kingdom will ban the sale of any car with an internal combustion engine, including lower-emission hybrid vehicles, and will only allow the sale of zero-emission electric vehicles.
Similar aggressive stances from other governments will ensure that electric vehicles come to the forefront, providing a significant boost in the fight against the climate crisis.
Simply put, vehicles with an internal combustion engine must be made extremely difficult, if not impossible to purchase. Fossil fuels must be heavily taxed. Conversely, electric vehicles must be made accessible and easier for everyone to purchase.
As a low-lying coastal nation, Bangladesh especially must be particularly strict on this matter, as we ourselves face an imminent and immense threat from the climate crisis.
By 2050, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expects approximately 27 million Bangladeshis to be at risk of displacement as a result of rising sea levels.
According to a recent Germanwatch study, Bangladesh is the ninth most vulnerable country to the devastation of climate change.
For the sake of our country and our planet, the internal combustion engine must eventually be completely wiped out.
The emissions that fuel-based cars produce, and the harm that it causes to the earth is far more important than my love for cars.
We can all eventually learn to love a Tesla, but without this planet, none of us will live to see another day.
Aveir Alam is an undergraduate student at Occidental College, living in Los Angeles, California.