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Landmark commitment at COP26: Countries, subnational governments, manufacturers and fleets target 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040

| November 15, 2021

First ever global agreement on zero-emission trucks and buses aims to put net zero carbon emissions by 2050 within reach

Representing a global response to climate emissions from trucks and buses and marking a turning point for the global transport sector, 15 countries agree to work together toward 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040. Under the new Global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (ZE-MHDVs), Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Wales are setting an interim goal of 30% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030. In a coordinated effort, subnational governments – like Québec (Canada), and Telengana (India) – as well as top manufacturers and fleets like Scania, DHL, and Heineken are endorsing the MOU and agreeing to work collaboratively toward the same 2030 and 2040 goals. Participants in this coordinated global effort agree that zero-emission trucks and buses are essential to reducing transport emissions, mitigating climate change, improving air quality, reducing the use of fossil fuels and energy costs.   

“For too long our medium- and heavy-duty vehicles were too difficult to decarbonize. But technology is improving fast and costs are reducing quickly. So now is the time to speed up. Not just for the climate. Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. This cuts both ways: investments now will lead to more green jobs in the coming years. I call on other countries to join our effort as soon as possible,” said Steven van Weyenberg, Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands, one of the signers of the new MOU.

CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program and campaign (Drive to ZeroTM) and the government of the Netherlands are the organizing bodies of the new MOU plus endorsement – a collective action called the Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses. The effort is a headline announcement at COP26’s “Transport Day” in Glasgow today (livestream at 10:45 am GMT here). In parallel, host nation the United Kingdom – with the support of the Climate Group – is announcing the COP26 declaration on zero-emission cars and vans, a landmark global agreement, which brings together national governments, states, regions, cities, vehicle manufacturers businesses, investors and civil society all committed to working towards 100% zero-emission car and van sales by 2035 in leading markets, and no later than 2040 globally.

Via these coordinated agreements for road transport, cars, vans, trucks, and buses are all on a pathway to 100% zero-emissions and in line to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“For the first time we have a unified target, supported by leading governments and industry, for when new trucks and buses should fully transition to zero-emission technologies,” said Dr. Cristiano Façanha, CALSTART’s Global Director. “Globally, freight trucks and buses represent about 4% of the on-road fleet globally but are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, and over 70% of nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to local air pollution. This makes trucks and buses a very effective target for fast decarbonization.”

The transition to 100% zero-emission technologies for trucks and buses will require massive investments in battery and electric component manufacturing and charging infrastructure as well as cross-collaboration between countries and the public and private sector.

“We endorse this global agreement on zero-emission trucks and buses as part of wider efforts to accelerate the shift towards sustainable transport. We will do our part to facilitate scaling of solutions faster and more cost-efficiently, not the least through initiatives that spur the build out of charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles,” says Christian Levin, President and CEO, Scania.

“In Chile we are convinced that cleaner and more efficient transport is key to reaching carbon neutrality. This must not only be expressed in the goals that we have set, as we have been making progress every day to meet them. Today we are proud to announce our adhesion and commitment to this agreement, which is aligned with our National Electromobility Strategy, which considers more than 50 concrete actions, and sets various ambitious goals, among which we highlight that by 2035 all new light and medium vehicle sales will be zero emissions in our country,” said Chile’s Undersecretary of Energy Francisco López.

The landmark Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses builds on previous action and ambition from key government leaders, including (but not limited to) California and the Netherlands. Both are breaking new ground in zero-emission transport and could serve as global models for action. California has recently adopted its Advanced Clean Truck rule that establishes firm sales targets for zero-emission trucks that formed the basis of the MOU ambition. Across the Netherlands for example, cities will be implementing zero-emission zones for freight with effect from 2025, in pursuit of emission-free deliveries. Grants will be available to help entrepreneurs switch to clean delivery vans or lorries. Cities will thus become healthier and more comfortable places in which to live and work, whilst reducing the emission of harmful gases and particles.

“Québec is pleased to endorse the ambition expressed in the Global MOU for ZE-MHDVs proposed by CALSTART and the Dutch government, and to participate in the decarbonization of the global road transport. We are already committed to banning the sale of new gasoline vehicles from 2035, and are aiming for 30% new heavy-duty vehicles sold in Québec being zero emissions by 2030, while making every effort to reach 100% as soon as possible,” said Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change.

“With already 8.4% of all buses and coaches registered in Luxembourg being electrified and with a clear aim to decarbonize by 2030 all the public buses operated by the State, the next necessary step is to accelerate the shift towards zero-emission trucks. Given that this requires a strong collaboration between governments and stakeholders in order to put in place the needed policies, vehicles and infrastructure, Luxembourg welcomes this ambitious memorandum of understanding and is looking forward to its implementation,” said François Bausch, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility and Public Works of Luxembourg.

Active discussions are being held with other countries that have not yet signed the MOU. Current MOU signatories represent the first group of countries aligned around the same target for zero-emission trucks and buses. “We have been coordinating with many additional countries about joining the MOU, and we hope to announce additional countries in the coming year,” said Dr. Façanha. “In addition, the MOU includes a robust implementation process to ensure progress and support participating countries. Governments will meet annually to discuss progress, share plans on how they intend to meet the goals of the MOU, share data, and collaborate.”

The ambition of the MOU is grounded in real-world data on model availability and technology readiness. Historically seen as a challenging segment to electrify, there are currently more than 570 models of zero-emission trucks and buses on the market supporting a diversity of transport needs today.

“The Austrian federal government has set itself the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2040 and greening transport will be a key factor to achieve this goal. We are nationally promoting the electrification of both, public transport and road vehicles, powered by renewable energy. However, for a timely shift to emission-free vehicles, many players have to work together and it is very clear that our goal of sustainable mobility can only be achieved with close international cooperation. Therefore, we are very happy to send such a strong signal in this direction with the Global MoU for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles,” said Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Federal Minister for Climate Action.

The Dutch Ministry for the Environment and CALSTART worked together to coordinate the Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses. As they oversee the MOU implementation and track the progress of countries adopting and implementing new ZE-MHDV policies and programs, they will continue to recruit new countries and private sector endorsements. Visit our website to read the full MOU and additional quotes from global leaders including DHL, Proterra, Lighting eMotors and others about this landmark turning point. Watch a new video about the announcement here.

Drive to Zero is a program of clean transportation accelerator CALSTART and a campaign of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) under the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI). The Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management has been Chair of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA), until COP26. California is the new chair.

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