After the commitments of the EV banner at COP26, it’s time for the United States to take the lead

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Through Jason mather and Pierre Zalzal

The global convening of international climate leaders to COP 26 enabled countries and companies to make transformative commitments regarding the pace of the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Major automakers such as Ford, GM and Mercedes-Benz, as well as more than two dozen countries OK that by 2035 all new cars sold should be zero emissions. Fifteen countries also agreed that the same should be true for trucks and buses by 2040.

It’s great to see global commitments to these goals (which EDF has already requested), because transport is the main source of climate pollution and one of the main causes of premature death in the world. However, the United States was in breach of these two historic agreements.

Americans deserve the health and economic benefits that achieving these goals would bring. Given the long lifespan of new vehicles, these targets are critical to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Fortunately, it is not too late for the United States to embrace these deadlines and support these goals with transformative and lasting political solutions.

The fine print

Ford embrace the horizon 2035 for leading markets is particularly noteworthy. The company’s recent push into electric vehicles has been well documented. It is also a decision necessary to meet science-based climate commitments and which will create jobs.

A recent analysis commissioned by EDF found that a single assembly plant with 3,300 direct jobs producing Ford’s F-series electric trucks, including the F-150 Lightning, could support 44,000 U.S. jobs and more than $ 5 billion of US gross domestic product. Ford joined General Motors – which previously embraced the date of 2035 – along with several other automakers in the announcement, and more than two dozen countries – including the UK, host of the event – have pledged to meet the deadline.

After the commitments of the EV banner at COP26, it’s time for the United States to take the lead Click to Tweet

For heavy goods vehicles, 15 countries have agreed to work together for 100% zero emission new truck and bus sales by 2040. Global Memorandum of Understanding for Zero Emission Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles is similar to the US regional memorandum of understanding sign in 2020 by 15 states and DC to collaborate on the adoption of zero-emission trucks. The 2040 horizon is crucial to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission trucks and buses, which EDF and others have called on to address the climate and air quality crisis we are currently facing. faced.

The global MoU also includes an interim target of 30% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030, reflecting the urgent need to rapidly expand this market now. from a small base.

As we have already noted, achieving this goal is within our grasp. To get there, we’ll first focus on increasing production in the heavy-duty truck segments that are most ready to go electrification – and there are many: local delivery vans, city buses, School buses, box trucks and garbage trucks are among the types of vehicles that can withstand widespread electrification by 2030.

An imperative to act

The environmental challenges to meet the deadlines set at COP26 are enormous for the United States EDF analysis shows that removing pollution from all new freight trucks and buses by 2040 – and freight trucks and buses used in urban and community areas by 2035 – would prevent 57,000 deaths premature and eliminate more than 4.7 billion metric tons of climate pollution by 2050.

The savings for passenger vehicles would be even greater. EDF’s analysis of these vehicles found that ensuring all passenger vehicles sold by 2035 were zero-emission would eliminate over 11.5 billion tonnes of climate pollution cumulatively and prevent up to 98,000 premature deaths. by 2050.

The Biden administration issued a decree in August outlining the steps the United States can take to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission cars and trucks. To achieve this vision, the administration must move forward with new emission standards that eliminate pollution from all new passenger cars by 2035 and all new freight trucks and buses by 2040. Congress must also lead the way by enacting critical provisions for electric vehicles in the Rebuild Better Act.

It is disappointing that the United States missed an opportunity to join other countries in these commitments at COP26 and to firmly establish itself as a leader in the global transition to electric vehicles. But America can continue to lead zero-emission vehicles if it seizes this moment to support regulation and policy that will generate hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs, improve air quality for all Americans, and fight against climate change.



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