The 26th annual UN Climate Change Conference – better known as COP26 – draws to a close in Glasgow on November 12. Viewed by many as the last chance to bring climate change under control, the conference has drawn the eyes of the world – so here is a wrap-up of the event and what it means for the mobility sector.
A COP like no other
World leaders, government representatives, climate experts, negotiators, businesses and citizens alike descended on Glasgow in early November for the 2021 edition of the UN climate summit. There was a unique sense of urgency this time around: the window for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is closing, fast – and global efforts to achieve critical emission reductions are not keeping up with the pace. Therefore, in addition to speeches and events, COP26 was the scene of crucial climate negotiations, with national governments and businesses asked to commit to new greenhouse gas reduction targets.
LeasePlan advocates for sustainable transport
Given that 20% of CO2 emissions in the EU come from road transport, the fleet industry has a key role to play in helping to reach the 1.5-degree target. “LeasePlan’s focus during COP26 was on raising awareness on the importance of fleets in tackling climate change and encouraging other responsible corporates to make the switch to an electric fleet as fast as possible,” said Mike Lightfoot, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer.
On Innovation Day (November 9), Mike participated in ‘RouteZero: Driving Innovation on ZEVs’, a panel focusing on the latest advances in all types of electric vehicles.
On COP26’s dedicated Transport Day (November 10), Mike also spoke at ‘Accelerating the ZEV Transition: A One-Way Street’. As part of this event, the COP26 declaration on rapidly accelerating the transition to 100% ZEVs was launched – with LeasePlan a proud signatory.
In the declaration, signatories including OEMs, governments and global corporations have agreed to make 2035 the date by which all new cars and vans sold in advanced markets must be zero emission. This new commitment therefore signals a major breakthrough in the electric vehicle revolution – in which LeasePlan is already playing a critical role, with its commitment to achieving net-zero tailpipe emissions from its fleet by 2030.
Transport Day marked a notable step forward, given that the Paris Agreement (from COP21 in 2015) did not mention cars, leaving countries free to act – or not – as they saw fit. However, even now, some major economies, including the US, Germany and China, have not signed up to the new declaration, and four of the top five carmakers were absent from the list of signatories.
“While the 2035 date is not as ambitious as we would have liked, and some of the major players have failed to sign up, it’s pleasing that the more progressive governments, businesses and OEMs are now getting fully on board with the zero-emission agenda. I’m hopeful it will create a snowball effect that will also encourage others to take action and sign the declaration. Reaching the 2035 target is essential if we’re to keep the 1.5-degree target within reach,” said Mike.
For more information, don’t forget to read Driving to Zero, LeasePlan’s industry-leading sustainability strategy, launched during COP26, for more details.