A new global group of environmental activists wants to achieve 100% zero-emissions new truck and bus sales by the year 2050. - Photo: Volvo Trucks North America

A new global group of environmental activists wants to achieve 100% zero-emissions new truck and bus sales by the year 2050.

Photo: Volvo Trucks North America

A new global push to reach 100% new zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2050 has been announced by a consortium of transportation and environmental groups. The new Global Memorandum of Understanding was unveiled by the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance in partnership with Calstart’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program and campaign.

“No one nation alone can change the course of the global truck and bus sector’s increasing climate and air quality impacts,” said Bill Van Amburg, executive vice president of Calstart and its Global Drive to Zero campaign, which will convene national governments that sign onto the new Global MOU. “But together we can. By working collaboratively, we can send the most effective and globally aligned market signals, via common goals coupled with smart and supportive policies, regulations, incentives and investments, to cause this change. Drive to Zero is proud to coordinate this effort. The Global MOU allows us all to pull together in the same direction, at the same time – and speed the pace of decarbonization.”

In advance of the 2050 sales goal, the newly launched Global MOU has an interim target of 30% new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty truck and bus sales by 2030. Under the agreement, frontrunners should aim to reach zero-emission benchmarks sooner.

“The temperature on earth is increasing faster than we thought,” said Stientje van Veldhoven, minister for the environment of The Netherlands and chair of the TDA. “Zero-carbon transport worldwide is essential to keep climate change in check and meet our Paris Agreement ambitions. If we want all our transport to be carbon-neutral by 2050, we know we need at least 30% of the freight fleet carbon-neutral by 2030. So we will need to speed up and accelerate the market for zero-emission vehicles. Rallying the largest possible group of countries behind these targets is why I launched this Global MOU process.”

One of Several New Global Initiatives 

This new Global MOU process comes on the heels of two significant zero-emission truck and bus efforts announced earlier this year in the U.S.

In June, the California Air Resources Board adopted the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, or ACT. ACT calls on commercial truck and van manufacturers in California to incrementally shift to zero-emission new commercial truck and van sales and reach 100% new zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2045.

In July, 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia signed the Multi-State Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Initiative memorandum of understanding. Like the new Global MOU announced today, the goal of this agreement to reach 100% zero-emission sales of new trucks and buses by 2050 in participating states with an interim target of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030. California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are all signatories.

“Many international clean truck and bus innovators and leaders in the private and public sector are already working to accelerate the development and deployment of zero-emission trucks and buses. Working in isolation, these efforts will fall short of what is possible," said Cristiano Façanha, global director of Drive to Zero. “We must work strategically and collaboratively to achieve ambitious but attainable goals through smart policies and requirements, incentives, innovative financing models, supportive programs and global alignment.”

The new Global MOU will be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. Between now and then, organizers will work collaboratively to gain as many signatory nations as possible. Future signatory jurisdictions will be convened by and work through the Clean Energy Ministerial Campaign under the Electric Vehicle Initiative, Calstart’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program.

CEM is a global forum for top energy ministers designed to drive policies and programs that advance clean energy technology. It includes 25 countries and the European Commission, representing roughly 90% of global clean energy investments and 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Calstart’s Drive to Zero program and campaign was named an official CEM campaign in September when Canada, China, Chile, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden announced they would work collaboratively – under the auspices of the Drive to Zero campaign and program – to grow zero-emission commercial vehicle manufacturing, infrastructure and deployment at home and globally.

Drive to Zero’s goal is to drive market viability for zero-emission commercial vehicles in key vehicle segments in urban communities by 2025 and achieve full market penetration by 2040. It is built upon a technology strategy, called the beachhead strategy, that identifies the commercial vehicle market segments where zero- and near-zero emission technology can succeed first. Those early successes drive pathways into new segments where the technology can flourish next.

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