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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

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.

Updated 16 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."