Cop 26: agreement to stop thermal cars in 2040. But few are signing up

The transport sector plays a leading role on the emissions front. At the Glasgow conference, some countries and some car manufacturers signed a pact to limit the sale of internal combustion vehicles to 2040 but many protagonists are missing.

A non-binding agreement that points to 2040 as the deadline for the sale of internal combustion vehicles around the planet. This is what was signed by a group of countries in the framework of the COP26 conference which is about to conclude in Glasgow at this time. The document contains the signatures of Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. On the manufacturers front, support has come from Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar-Land Rover, Volvo, the Chinese BYD and the Indian Tata. On balance, many of the leading players in the automotive scene are missing, but even more is the participation of countries that have a significant weight in terms of road transport, such as the United States and China, which in terms of CO2 emissions are two among the most polluting states. The position of Germany is more nuanced, which has not signed because the subscription contains a footnote that prevents the use of synthetic fuels produced with renewable energy, an option that some exponents of the current and future German government want to keep. open.


It is the entire transport sector that plays a major role in terms of emissions: cars, trucks, ships, buses and planes account for about a quarter of all global carbon emissions, according to data from the International Agency for energy (Aie). Will what is signed in Glasgow have a tangible effect? The 2040 threshold has been repeatedly indicated by many car manufacturers as a goal for completely electrified mobility, at least in terms of production. Therefore, it is conceivable only the sale of battery-powered vehicles for that date, even if it remains difficult to imagine this scenario on a global scale. Some manufacturers place this threshold well earlier, while at European level the Commission’s plans aim to ban the sale of thermal cars in 2035, as part of the Fit for 55 program. Broadening the horizon, China’s reluctance is to be noted. first world car market, to come to terms. The United States also refused to make any commitments, although some states like California and cities like New York signed the deal.


The constructors’ front is also very varied. It should be emphasized that the investments made for the electrification of vehicles have been massive: Reuters estimates the funds for the development of electric cars and batteries to be budgeted until 2030 at 515 billion dollars (over 445 billion euros). it would therefore have a vested interest in selling zero-emission vehicles. So why have many car manufacturers, despite having plans to drastically reduce the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles, remain skeptical of the proposed deal in Glasgow? Reuter reports the views of sources close to the negotiating table who consider the commitment of technological change to be very onerous especially in the face of the lack of as much determination on the part of governments to ensure that the necessary charging and network infrastructures are built.

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Cop 26: agreement to stop thermal cars in 2040. But few are signing up