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16th Street Mall busses in Denver. Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A new pact to speed deployment of zero-emission trucks, vans, buses and other big vehicles that move lots of people and objects around was unveiled by 15 states plus D.C. this morning.

Why it matters: The new "memorandum of understanding" is non-binding, but it sets aggressive targets, and provides a template for working together on emissions from industries that often operate across state lines.

The big picture: "While trucks and buses only account for 4 percent of vehicles on the road, they are responsible for nearly 25 percent of total transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions," the announcement states.

  • It also notes that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for lots of smog-forming and particulate pollution, which disproportionately affects poor people and communities of color.

How it works: The MOU sets a goal of having electric models account for all medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales in their states by 2050, and a nearer-term goal of 30% by 2030.

  • The states involved include California, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

What's next: The agreement calls for creating a joint plan within six months that includes suggestions for...

  • Incentives states can adopt.
  • Plans to have public transit and other government agencies increase deployment.
  • Infrastructure strategies.
  • Plans to work with private fleet managers.

Go deeper

Oct 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

Trucking into the hydrogen era

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After years of unmet promises, hydrogen vehicles could finally be catching on. If so, it'll be a convoy of clean semi-trucks — not a bunch of quirky passenger cars — leading the way.

The big picture: We've been hearing about zero-emission, fuel-cell vehicles for decades as the answer to our worries about fossil fuels and climate change. But even now, the economic and practical challenges are still too difficult to overcome — except, perhaps, for commercial truck fleets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Amazon shows off its new Rivian electric delivery van

Screenshot of Amazon video about its electric vans.

Amazon has taken the wraps off the first electric delivery van developed with the Rivian, the EV startup slated to begin mass producing vehicles for the e-commerce giant.

Why it matters: It shows that Amazon is moving to turn its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040 into concrete steps and technology deployment.

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.