COP26: what fleets and OEMs want to see
Leading figures from fleets, manufacturers and the transport industry have outlined their hopes for the COP26 climate conference as world leaders meet in Glasgow to discuss measures to limit global warming.
With road transport responsible for about 20% of carbon emissions in the European Union, the need to decarbonise vehicles is at the forefront of fleet and automotive industry decision makers.
Cut energy use
Claire Haigh, Founder & CEO of Greener Transport Solutions, said: “Transport is the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions. A step change is needed if we are to decarbonise in time. We cannot rely on clean technologies alone, behaviour change will also play a critical role. Fares and taxes should encourage lower carbon travel choices.
"The success of COP26 will be determined by the commitments secured for this decade. We must connect with the root cause of climate change, which is fundamentally about our using too much energy and the price of fossil fuels that produce that energy. A strong, predictable and rising carbon price is needed.”
UPS: balance business and environment
At global logistics giant UPS, Peter Harris, Vice President, International Sustainability, called on politicians at Cop26 to balance green goals with business objectives, with the ideal outcome of the conference being: "A global consensus on greenhouse gas emissions reduction that recognises the co-dependence of business and the environment and encourages innovation as a key solution provider."
Corporate fleet action
LeasePlan’s new white paper, “Road to COP26: How corporate fleets can fight climate change,” highlights the fact that six out of 10 new cars sold in Europe are company cars. Electrifying these cars would not only clean up fleet emissions, but would also transform the vehicles entering the secondhand car market in three or four years’ time.
Tex Gunning, CEO of LeasePlan, said: “Corporate leaders should take full responsibility to fight climate change, and switching to an electric fleet is one of easiest and most effective ways to make an impact. We have a small window of time to prevent the worst effects of climate change, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren not to waste this opportunity.”
Cleaning up the fleet supply chain
The UK’s second biggest fleet, BT Group, set its first carbon reduction target in 1992, and in 2008 pledged to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its operations by 80% by 2020. It achieved its target four years early. The company now plans to be carbon net zero by 2030, which means a rapid and challenging transition of its 33,000 vehicles to electric power. This total includes 27,000 vehicles operated by Openreach, which aims to transition one third of its vehicles to electric (and powered by renewable electricity), by 2025, with the majority of its fleet becoming battery-powered by 2030.
BT Group is also expecting its suppliers to follow its lead in reducing their own carbon emissions.
“We have introduced a sustainability contract clause into key contracts which require the supplier to reduce its carbon emissions over the term of the contract,” said a BT Group spokesman.
New CO2 targets
In July, the European Commission proposed that by 2030 CO2 emissions from new cars should be 55% less than 2021 levels, but research by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) foundthat 10 European Union countries do not even have one electric vehicle charger for every 100 kilometres of key roads, compared to the Netherlands, which has 47.5 chargers per 100km of road (the most in the EU). Unsurprisingly, nine of these 10 countries have an electric car market share below 3%.
“Consumers will not be able to make the switch to zero-emission vehicles if there are not enough charging and refuelling stations along the roads where they drive,” said Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General.
“For instance, if citizens of Greece, Lithuania, Poland and Romania still have to travel 200km or more to find a charger, we cannot expect them to be willing to buy an electric car.”
Even in Western Europe, recent research indicates that drivers still have range anxiety and concerns around charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, said John Lippe, Director, City Engagement, Ford Mobility.
“If there’s one thing that I’d like to see from COP26, it is for everyone involved - governments, public bodies, energy providers and automotive companies - to tackle this together to ensure this segment of the transport sector is able to achieve the progress essential to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement," said Lippe.