Energy & Environment

Thirty countries and six automakers commit to entirely zero-emissions trucks by 2040

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Thirty countries, including the United Kingdom (U.K.), Canada, Mexico and India, will join six automakers in exclusively producing zero-emissions heavy trucks by 2040, the organizers of the COP26 climate summit announced in a statement Tuesday night.

The plan will make the U.K. the first country to commit to a full phase-out of new vehicles weighing 26 metric tons or less by 2035. All such new vehicles sold in the U.K. will be emissions-free by 2040 under the British government’s commitment. The commitment applies to heavy goods vehicles, the European classification for trucks more than 7,716 pounds.

However, three of the world’s biggest car markets–the U.S., Japan and China–did not join the agreement, nor did major automakers such as Toyota and Volkswagen. India, the world’s fourth-largest car market, is the the largest market to sign onto the pledge. Several individual U.S. states, including California and Washington State, also signed on.

“We know that transport plays a key role saving the planet from warming above 1.5 [degrees Celsius], which is why this is the COP that will kick start our ambition for zero emission aviation and why I’m proud to be uniting world leaders to tackle climate change – creating new opportunities for clean growth, green jobs, and improved air quality right across the globe,” British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement. “To support the transition to EVs, it’s integral that we have the infrastructure to support it.”

The British government will allow a “very limited range” of exemptions for some specialist vehicles such as military and emergency vehicles, according to the COP26 statement.

Six major automakers have committed to entirely zero-emissions new car and van sales by 2040, according to COP26 organizers. These include GM, Ford, Mercedes, BYD, Volvo and JLR.

A spokesperson for BYD confirmed the company’s participation to The Hill.

In a separate statement, Ford confirmed it was joining RouteZero, a coalition committed to entirely electric vehicles by 2040. The automaker previously announced it was on track to reach 50 percent electric vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

“We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few and achieving goals once thought mutually exclusive – protect our planet, build the green economy, and create value for our customers and shareholders. It will take everyone working together to be successful,” Cynthia Williams, Ford’s global director for sustainability, homologation and compliance, said in a statement.

Road transportation comprises some 17 percent of global carbon emissions. The Biden administration’s infrastructure agenda also takes aim at automotive emissions, expanding infrastructure for both public transportation and electric vehicles.

The Hill has reached out to the other automakers named in the COP26 statement for comment.

Tags Commercial vehicles COP26 emissions heavy trucks United Kingdom

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