Last month saw the US, Ukraine, Ireland, Belgium, and others join the world’s most ambitious agreement to address climate emissions from transport — the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (Global MOU).
First introduced at COP26, the Global MoU puts countries on a path to 100% new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) sales by 2040 at the latest, with an interim goal of at least 30% new sales by 2030. The new signatories join last year’s co-signers such as Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and the UK.
“We have to work together across oceans and borders to meet our clean energy goals,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm. “This global partnership will leverage the billions of dollars in clean transportation investments provided by President Biden’s Agenda to drive technological innovation, lower vehicle costs, and reduce transportation emissions.”
A laudable aim but there must be disappointment that the list of countries does not include most of the world’s biggest markets for those vehicles.There must also be a lot of work to get countries such as Germany and Sweden, who signed up to the Drive to Zero campaign which aims for 100% emission-free commercial transport manufacturing and sales by 2040 but have stopped short of taking on the ambitious short-term goals of the Global MoU.
Regionally, we have seen moves towards sustainable mobility, a slightly greener T&L– the UAE government had replaced 20% of its fleet with EVs at last count, for instance – but there must be a realisation that the private sector, the buyers of these vehicles, need to be considered and engaged too.
The COP meetings are great for PR, but they set the tempo without leading the dance. I think that now is the time for real and honest discussions about the practicalities of confronting the consequences of agreements set in the forum (if they’re met) at every level of transportation and logistics. Standards must be set, realistic targets made. Whether Saudi Arabia or, say, the UAE, ever sign up to these agreements, the reality is that pricing and availability of our vehicles will be impacted. Better to solve those problems now, rather than when it’s too late.