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Insights from COP26: Day 10 - Transport Day

By Andrew Adie
10 November 2021
Green & Good (ESG and Impact)

By Andrew Adie

With just two days left before the end of the COP26 Conference the negotiations are now focusing on the final text for an agreement. Unusually, the initial draft has been published which calls on all countries to come back in 2022 with strengthened NDC targets that enable the world to deliver no more than 1.5C global warming.

The draft text has prompted a mixed reaction, with some saying it lacks ambition while others praise the boldness of the negotiation strategy , which appears to be driven by a desire to expose any country that feels unwilling to commit to 1.5C targets. There has been much focus on Saudi Arabia with Greenpeace claiming that it is acting as a blocker on a 1.5C agreement.  The draft agreement also calls for developed nations to double the transition funding for developing economies and calls on more stringent targets for phasing out coal and removing subsidies for fossil fuels.

How that draft text evolves over the coming days will be fascinating to watch and critical to the success of the Conference, many observers have called for the text to be a floor not a ceiling as discussions inevitably run into the nights, as well as days, ahead. The pressure from activists and those countries most at risk of climate change continues to build on the back of yesterday’s devastating Climate Action Tracker report that said the world was on track for a 2.4C temperature rise, despite the pledges made in Glasgow.

Transport Day also saw a strong spike in corporate activity and public and private sector announcements, including the announcement from the UK government that all HGVs sold in the UK will, by 2040, have to be zero emission.

There has also been a declaration, signed by 33 countries and manufacturers including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Jaguar Landrover and General Motors to work towards 100% zero emission new car and van sales by 2040, and by 2035 in leading markets. The UK has previously announced a ban on all new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030.

Logistics UK outlined its plans to deliver a ‘route to net zero’ and electric truck manufacturer Tevva announced that it is on course to deliver 3,000 electric trucks per year by 2023 in the UK as it called for faster action to deliver a net zero transport revolution and announced that its EV trucks would eliminate the equivalent of 10 million tonnes of GHG emissions by 2030.

In other corporate developments, EasyJet used Transport Day to announce that it has signed up to the Race to Zero (to achieve net zero by 2050) and Alstrom and Eversholt Rail announced a memorandum of understanding to deliver a fleet of ten hydrogen trains into the UK. The Green Finance Institute, through the Coalition for the Decarbonisation of Road Transport, published 18 recommendations (including increasing loans capacity and standardising battery health certification to boost confidence in the used EV market) to finance the uptake of EVs. The recommendations, drafted by a coalition of 200 experts, sets recommendations for a financial framework for EVs  which it says could enable the UK to unlock £150 billion in private investment into EVs and EV charging infrastructure.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, also announced that Manchester’s transport network will be net zero by 2030 and called for greater efforts to cur the cost of public transport across the UK.

Day 10 has delivered a range of positive initiatives but also raised the stakes for the days ahead. COP26 has delivered good progress but it will only be judged a success if that 1.5C target looks to be in sight. At the moment, particularly in light of the Climate Action Tracker report, that still looks a tall order.