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Pledge to accelerate transition to zero emission cars and vans

A group of ministers and industry leaders have committed to working towards 100% zero emission new car and van sales by 2040 or earlier at COP26.

A total of 24 countries; six major vehicle manufacturers (GM, Ford, Mercedes, BYD, Volvo, JLR); 39 cities, states and regions; 28 fleets and 13 investors all jointly set out their determination for all new car and van sales to be zero emission by 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets.

In this group, companies like Sainsbury’s and countries including El Salvador and New Zealand have made new commitments to 100% zero emission vehicles. They follow proposals made by the EU, Chile, Canada and a number of US states this year to ensure all new cars are zero emission by 2035. Also announced, a number of emerging markets and developing economies have committed to work to accelerate the adoption of zero emission vehicles in their markets, including India, Ghana, Kenya, Paraguay, Rwanda and Turkey.

However, Brussels-based green group Transport & Environment (T&E) is calling for the pledge to be ‘backed up with actual targets set down in law,’ noting that ‘with China, the US, Germany and France absent, it will take more than a non-binding declaration to clean up the largest source of transport pollution.’

The announcement came as new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), commissioned by the UK COP Presidency and just published, shows the progress made in the passenger vehicle market:

  • Some 31% of the global passenger vehicle market is now covered by vehicle manufacturer commitments to end sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, up from a near zero share of the market at the start of 2021.
  • Global sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have grown dramatically since 2019, from 2.1mn to 5.3mn.

Meanwhile, 19 national governments have stated their intent at COP26 to support the establishment of green shipping corridors – zero emission shipping routes between two ports. This will involve deploying zero emission vessel technologies and putting alternative fuel and charging infrastructure in place in ports to allow for zero emission shipping on key routes across the globe.

Last, 28 offshore wind industry stakeholders have committed under the Operation Zero initiative to work together toward making zero emission operations and maintenance vessels a reality in the North Sea by 2025.

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