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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

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.