Lyft's newly announced plan to go 100% electric by 2030 blends ambition on climate and admission that making good relies on variables it can perhaps influence but can't control.
That acknowledgment is hardly unique in the burgeoning world of aggressive corporate climate pledges.
Driving the news: 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.
(Greentech Media has good coverage here.)
The intrigue: 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, alongside its multipart plan to boost EVs, cites the need for "unprecedented leadership from policymakers and regulators to align market rules and incentives for businesses and consumers alike."
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.
Why it matters: 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.