Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

General Motors (GM) is racing to prepare itself for a president and a world that takes climate change more seriously — and putting the Trump era behind them in the process.

Driving the news: GM yesterday announced an ambitious plan to end global sales of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. It's part of their wider new pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Why it matters: Pulling it off would require an utterly massive transformation of GM's fleet over 15 years.

  • Consider that last year, GM sold roughly 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. — but sales of its Chevy Bolt electric vehicle totaled under 21,000.
  • They're planning to offer 30 all-electric models globally by the mid-2020s, but the 2035 target — if accomplished — would still mean a sea-change from even the evolution they see over the next half-decade.
  • And it's not a very Trump-y pledge — the former president was dismissive of global warming and sought to slow down vehicle emissions rules that were supportive of electric cars.

The big picture: GM was already greatly expanding its EV efforts during the Trump era, and its share price has been rising over the past year or so in the process.

  • But President Biden's election win and pro-EV posture create a less fraught environment for the automaker, which no longer has to tiptoe around Trump and his Twitter feed.
  • The Detroit News summed up GM's announcement yesterday by noting it "reflects a newly Democratic-controlled capital pivoting to an aggressive climate agenda."

Flashback: In another stark sign of the new regime, after the election, GM abandoned litigation aimed at thwarting California's effort to impose tougher standards than federal rules. The company had been siding with the Trump administration in the case.

  • The company, in a letter to environmental groups, said it was confident that Biden, California and the industry could sing from the same song sheet on national emissions rules.
  • "If Trump had won the election, I'd say there is a lesser chance of GM pulling out [of] the lawsuit as it's in the interest of any large automaker to find ways to work with the current presidential administration," Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell says.

Yes, but: It's too soon to say how much harmony is in store for GM and the Biden administration. That will become more apparent when Biden's regulators start unveiling specific rules around mileage and emissions standards.

  • And one environmentalist who has spent many years tracking industry moves says there's reason to be very skeptical of GM's new posture, given that they initially backed Trump's intent to weaken Obama-era standards.
  • "[H]ow can we trust GM and other automakers’ promises when they repudiated their commitment to abide by the standards they negotiated with Obama?" asks Dan Becker of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Podcasts

When investing goes viral

You've likely heard the headlines this week about the stock market mania around GameStop. But this isn't just about the stock market. It's a kind of populist uprising borne of the Internet.

  • Plus, what’s behind GM’s big electric vehicle announcement.
  • And, the new Wild West is in outer space.
Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Electric vehicle sales far surpass pandemic expectations

Data: EIA; Note: 2020 figures are preliminary; Chart: Axios Visuals

New International Energy Agency preliminary data shows that worldwide sales grew by an estimated 40% last year, exceeding the agency's expectations.

Why it matters: The increase occurred despite a drop on overall global vehicle sales.

56 mins ago - World

Scottish first minister vows independence referendum after election win

Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, reacts after being declared the winner of the Glasgow Southside seat at Glasgow counting centre in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Friday. Photo: Andy Buchanan /AFP via Getty Images

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans Saturday for a second independence referendum once the pandemic has abated following the country's parliamentary elections.

The big picture: Sturgeon's Scottish National Party won 64 seats, one seat short of an outright majority in the 129-seat Parliament. But most seats went to pro-independence parties.