Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Lyft's newly announced plan to go 100% electric by 2030 blends ambition on climate with an admission that making good relies on variables it can perhaps influence but can't control.

Why it matters: The ride-hailing giant is admirably open about something that can get lost in the avalanche of big pledges over the last two years. They need policy changes to make it work.

  • Lyft outlined a pathway that starts with more near-term electric vehicle deployment through its driver rental program and more slowly spurring electrification of driver-owned cars used for the vast majority of Lyft rides.
  • But it cites the need for "unprecedented leadership from policymakers and regulators to align market rules and incentives for businesses and consumers alike."
  • This sort of acknowledgment is hardly unique in the burgeoning world of aggressive corporate climate pledges.

The big picture: Look closely at various pledges and you'll see that a number — though not all — rely on a mix of corporate decision-making, technology advancements and policy changes to help meet the goals.

  • For instance, consider Duke Energy, one of the largest utilities in the nation and among a growing number of power giants pledging net-zero emissions or 100% carbon-free electricity by midcentury.
  • Its plan to be net-zero emissions by 2050 is shot-through with policy discussion, such as "permitting reforms" that will enable deployment of new technologies.

One level deeper: All the giant European oil companies are now setting targets for steeply cutting "Scope 3" emissions — that is, emissions from the use of their products in the economy, not just the comparatively small emissions from their own operations.

  • This either explicitly or tacitly acknowledges the role of policy in addition to their own business practices (and indeed the companies are also vowing to boost their advocacy).
  • Take the French multinational giant Total, which points out that it's aiming for net-zero overall emissions by 2050 "together with society" and that it will develop "active advocacy" around carbon pricing and more.

The bottom line: It's another lens onto something we've written about before that's getting a lot of attention as President Trump scales back federal efforts.

  • The burst of state, local and business emissions efforts can do a lot — but they're not a substitute for national policy.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

6 takeaways from the House Democrats' climate blueprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Democrats have released a 547-page template-slash-wish-list that could chart a path for the party to follow if they regain control of the Senate and the White House in this year's election.

The big picture: The plan from the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis calls for net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050, net-zero power-sector emissions by 2040, and a zero-emissions requirement for 100% of light-duty vehicle sales by 2035, among other targets.

Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deploying electric vehicles instead of gasoline-powered models for services like Uber and Lyft provides outsized climate benefits compared to emissions cuts from electric vehicles for only personal use, per a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: The analysis, based on California data, follows explosive growth in ride-hailing in recent years — and evidence that it's cannibalizing more climate-friendly mass transit.

The limits of the coronavirus-related emissions dip

Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

A pandemic is a bad, expensive and inadequate way to cut carbon emissions, and a Rhodium Group analysis out this morning helps to underscore why.

Why it matters: It modeled U.S. emissions this year and going forward based on several different scenarios of GDP decline and recovery — and all of them show lower levels for the next decade compared to the pre-pandemic baseline, but none are consistent with deeply decarbonizing the economy or a pathway to net-zero emissions by midcentury.