Nov 10, 2021 - World

COP26 pledges turn to electric vehicles

A Volkswagen production line for electric cars in Emden, Germany, on Nov. 9.
A Volkswagen production line for electric cars in Emden, Germany, on Nov. 9. Photo: Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

The latest big COP26 pledge aims to greatly speed the transition to electric vehicles, but it has split the auto industry and lacks buy-in from key countries.

Driving the news: The nonbinding commitment from a suite of companies, nations, cities and others calls for all car and van sales to be zero-emissions globally by 2040, and by 2035 in "leading markets."

Why it matters: That pledge — if carried out — would help to cut emissions from transportation, a huge source of planet-warming gases.

  • Over 30 countries signed on, so did big automakers including Ford, GM, Volvo and Mercedes.
  • U.S. states and cities including New York, New York City and California also signed on.

Yes, but: Via the NYT, "some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, and the Nissan-Renault alliance did not join the pledge...And the governments of the United States, China and Japan, three of the largest car markets, also abstained."President Biden has set a nonbinding domestic goal of 50% of all new cars sold in 2030 to be zero emissions.

The big picture: EV sales are surging but remain a small share of the market. Battery electric and plug-in hybrid models together about 10% of global sales this year, per Rystad Energy.

Go deeper: New report warns COP26 negotiators that new pledges are inadequate

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