Petrochemical company Shell has suggested that a ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward to 2035 in order to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change.

At present, the British government has pledged to end the sales of new internal combustion-powered cars in 2040, but Shell says moving the date forward by five years could help the world achieve its emissions aims.

Under the company’s Sky report – a vision of the future that would see the world meet the commitments laid out in Paris – Shell suggests that 100 percent of new car sales in the European Union, USA and China should be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

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Shell’s vision would see this become possible thanks to the development of autonomous electric vehicles in city centres and new, cheaper ways of building electric vehicles, as well as improvements in infrastructure.

However, Shell admits that even in its ‘scenario for success’, road freight will need to use diesel well into the 2050s, because of ‘the need for a high-energy-density fuel’.

In terms of private cars, though, hydrocarbon-based fuels such as petrol and diesel needs to halve between 2020 and 2050, before falling by 90 percent by 2070.

As well as battery-electric cars, though, Shell says hydrogen will need to play its part in a more environmentally friendly future.

The company says hydrogen technology is currently ‘stalled’, with car manufacturers seemingly more interested in plug-in electric vehicles, but argues that as oil and gas infrastructure becomes less important, it can easily be replaced with hydrogen facilities.

A statement from Shell said the Sky scenario was designed to act as ‘inspiration’ for governments, industries and individuals.

‘The Sky scenario outlines what we believe to be a technologically, industrially, and economically possible route forward,’ it read. ‘This should give us all some hope – and perhaps some inspiration. In more practical terms, perhaps this analysis can provide useful pointers to areas where focused attention could produce the best results.’