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Austria, Canada, Chile, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden Call on Leading Nations to Jointly Pursue Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Meet Paris Climate Goals

01 Jun 2021

Austria, Canada, Chile, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden are calling on leading nations to jointly pursue a global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ahead of COP26 to accelerate the manufacturing and adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (ZE-MHDVs). The global agreement will aim to reach 100 percent ZE-MHDV sales between 2040 and 2050 because growing the ZE-MHDV sector is crucial to reaching collective Paris Agreement climate goals.

“This is an important step. Zero-emission freight is a crucial step in a cost-efficient pathway to achieving our climate goals,” said Stientje van Veldhoven, Dutch Minister for the Environment and Chair of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA). “Trucks account for only two percent of the vehicles on the road. Yet they are responsible for 22 percent of the road transport CO2 emissions in the EU. If you take into account the lifetime of trucks, you just need to stop adding new fossil fuel vehicles around 2040 if you want to be carbon neutral in 2050.”

“The current e-commerce boom threatens to put our collective Paris Agreement ambitions out of reach,” said Dr. Cristiano Façanha, Global Director of the Drive to Zero program and campaign (Drive to Zero) at CALSTART. “A global ZE-MHDV MoU would not only help nations achieve ambitious climate and air quality goals, it would also drive new investment and good-paying manufacturing jobs while improving energy security and independence for leading edge nations.”

"I welcome this initiative to bring freight emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. I look forward to seeing the MoU signed at COP26 by a large group of countries," said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This announcement at the 12th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM12) hosted by Chile, was first broadcast live online at 11:05 CEST on May 31, 2021 and can be viewed by registrants of CEM12 on demand starting now here (click the “view” button). CEM12 continues through June 6, 2021. 

"Drive to Zero will accelerate the transition in medium- and heavy-duty transport to reach zero-emissions. This challenge, which will help us reach carbon neutrality, does not only come with environmental opportunities as it will also come with improvements of people’s health as the air quality improves, and economic benefits. The latter is mainly due to the economic advantages of zero-emission vehicles, which leads to reductions of operational and maintenance costs compared to conventional vehicles," said Francisco Javier López, Undersecretary of Energy, Chile. 

By setting a goal of 100 percent ZE-MHDV sales between 2040 and 2050, the proposed MoU would enable nation signatories to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. And, to boost near-term action that would send a clear market signal to manufacturers, global fleets and investors, participating nations are also considering setting an interim goal in 2030.

“Noting the challenges faced by operators with respect to alternative fuels or charging infrastructure as well as the varying geographical considerations and priorities of different nations, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy confirms our commitment to the ambition to set global targets for the deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Active exchanges of knowledge and joint understanding of views will be key to our success,” said Dr. Gereon Meyer, Head of Department, European and International Business Development, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GMBH, Germany.

Last year, 15 states in the United States plus the District of Columbia announced the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, which sets a goal of 100 percent ZE-MHDV sales in signatory states by 2050. It serves as a model for the new global MoU. Also in 2020, California adopted the world’s most ambitious zero-emission truck rule, the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule (ACT), requiring commercial truck and van manufacturers to begin selling zero-emission vehicles by 2024. By 2045 under the ACT, all new commercial trucks and vans sold in California must be zero-emissions.

"Dirty diesel trucks pollute our most vulnerable neighborhoods causing asthma and contributing to the climate emergency. That's why it's urgent that we commit to moving towards available zero-emissions trucks, buses and freight alternatives on a very accelerated timeline," said Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. "California is eager for partnerships with other states and nations to accomplish this goal. Only by coming together globally can we put toxic diesel exhaust and truck-borne climate emissions in our rearview mirror.”

In addition to the 100 percent sales target, nations will also consider adopting complementary policies, incentives, investments, and other actions through coordinated action plans. Participant nations voiced their support for tracking and reporting their progress as they align efforts to transition to 100 percent ZE-MHDV sales.

"More than half of all new cars sold in Norway are electric, but we still have work to do on heavier vehicles,” said Knut Arild Hareide, Minister of Transport, Norway. “By 2025 Norway hopes to see that all new passenger cars and light vans are ZEVs. We also hope to see a future where all new city buses either are ZEVs or run on biogas by 2025. And by 2030, we hope that all new heavy vans, 75 percent of new long-distance buses and 50 percent of new lorries are zero-emission vehicles. Sharing knowledge and working together is an important step in supporting a developing industry for ZE-MHDVs.”

“By 2045 greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden from several sectors including transport need to be zero,” said Sebastian de Toro, State Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure, Sweden. “When it comes to road transport, zero-emission technologies are here, now it's the time for implementation. The Swedish government will invest around 100 million euros on the establishment of fast charge infrastructure for regional freight. The transition has begun, but we need to raise the ambition for light and heavy vehicles. We need to work together regionally and globally to achieve results.”

The government of the Netherlands, as Chair of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA), has taken the initiative for this Global MoU and is co-leading this effort with CALSTART’s Drive to Zero. Drive to Zero is an official campaign of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) under the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI). CEM12 brings together the world's largest and leading countries, companies and international experts with the goal of accelerating clean energy transitions. 

As leading countries prepare to raise the level of climate mitigation ambition ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November, the Global MoU will support their efforts to meet their climate targets. 

“A strong signal to markets is a pivotal contribution governments can make as part of our common effort to get transport en route to zero emissions. I fully support this initiative and hope to see more and more governments come together to set the conditions to reach the #RaceToZero Breakthroughs on the path to zero emission transportation,” said Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action, COP26.

"As we strive towards a zero-emission future, the UK is going further and faster to decarbonise all modes of transport,” said Rachel Maclean, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, United Kingdom. "With COP26 on the horizon and as hosts of this significant event, we want to be a global leader in the transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. And by working together, we can make the transition to zero-emission transport faster, cheaper and easier for all."

The Netherlands and CALSTART will convene bilateral dialogues with all interested nations ahead of COP26. The stronger the support from nations, the swifter the full transition to ZE-MHDVs, and a cleaner and safer climate for all.

CALSTART | https://calstart.org