Major automakers won’t just commit to selling zero-emissions cars by 2040

The United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, chaired by the United Kingdom, wanted governments, manufacturers and investors to pledge to “work towards worldwide zero-emission sales of cars and trucks by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets,” according to an announcement published Wednesday.

This non-binding pledge was touted by summit organizers as pivotal to efforts to keep carbon emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The United Kingdom, Canada, India and Poland, along with 19 other countries, signed the pledge but the list did not include the world’s largest auto markets: China and the United States. Germany, home to Europe’s largest auto industry, was also not prepared to support it.

Germany environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth accused the UK presidency of adding an “unnecessary barrier” by adding a footnote to the declaration that would also ban synthetic fuels.

“What is very worrying today is that major economies such as the United States, Germany, China and Japan and manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Hyundai have not even been able to sign a declaration on electric vehicles that promise less than what is actually needed to maintain climate security,” said Martin Kaiser, executive director of the organization. German Greenpeace in a statement on Wednesday.

Toyota said in a statement that there was not enough time to put in place such a large-scale policy by 2040, particularly in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, which lack the “environment to boost electrification”.

“For this reason, we have found it difficult to adhere to a joint declaration and have not co-signed it at this time,” the Japanese company said.

Volkswagen, which has invested heavily in electric cars and Plans to build six “megafactories” In Europe by 2030, it said it was fully committed to this strategy “as the primary means of achieving zero-emissions vehicles”.

But, like Toyota, it said the 2040 deadline does not take into account differences in the pace of zero-emission vehicle adoption worldwide. She also said that any rapid transition to electric vehicles must go along with the energy transition towards 100% renewable energy sources.

“Despite the importance of transformational speed, the pace of transformation will still vary from region to region…depending, among other things, on the local political decisions that drive electric vehicles. [electric vehicles] and infrastructure investments.

BMW also refused to sign the pledge due to what it called “significant uncertainty” about how it would support a full global shift to zero-emissions vehicles, particularly across dramatically different markets.

The company said it has zero-emissions technology “ready today” and that its Rolls-Royce and Mini models built from the early 2030s onwards will be battery-only electric cars.

Stuck in the slow lane?

However, some automakers were willing to support the COP initiative.

stronghold (F) It signed the pledge and said it expected its global production of cars to reach 40% “all-electric by 2030”. general motors (GM) Advertising is also supported.
Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler (I will) She signed the COP26 declaration, but added that her own goals were “more ambitious”. It said it was preparing for Mercedes to go into full electrification “by the end of the decade, as market conditions allow.”
Volvo (volv)Headquartered in Sweden, it has already announced its intention to sell only fully electric cars by 2030.
Uber (Uber) Leaseplan also supported the pledge.

Benjamin Stefan, an energy and transportation activist for Germany’s Greenpeace, told CNN Business that it was “not at all surprising” that the country’s major automakers had not signed the COP26 pledge, and singled out BMW as reluctant to take an all-electric route with Its lines, unlike Volkswagen’s stated electric vehicle strategy.

But he also criticized the pledge to sell zero-emissions cars by 2040 as a “step in the right direction, but too slow” to meet the 1.5C and net-zero targets by 2050.

CNN’s Amy Cassidy, Mayumi Maruyama, Anna Cuban and Chris Liakos contributed to this story.


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