Many governments and businesses said they have begun to work to make a world where every car, bus, and truck sold is electric and affordable, where shipping vessels use only sustainable fuels, and where planes can run on green hydrogen may sound like something out of a science fiction film, but many governments and businesses said they have begun to work to make it a reality here at COP26.
Wednesday saw yet another round of new announcements, pronouncements, and coalition-building, this time centered on the transportation sector, which accounts for roughly a quarter of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 1970, the sector’s emissions have more than doubled, with road vehicles accounting for almost 80% of the rise. The transportation sector in the globe is nearly totally reliant on fossil fuels. This, however, may alter in the next decades.
Over 100 national governments, cities, states, and significant corporations signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans at COP26, pledging to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035 in major markets by 2040 globally. At least 13 countries have also promised to phase out the sale of heavy-duty vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 2040.
Local efforts are also underway, with Latin American towns such as Bogota, Cuenca, and Salvador intending to convert their public transportation fleets to zero emissions by 2035.
Today, the shipping sector made a commitment to scale and commercialize zero-emission shipping vessels and fuels by 2030, with 200 companies from across the shipping value chain signing on. They also urged countries to put in place the necessary policies and infrastructure by 2050 to ensure a just transition.
Meanwhile, the Clydebank Declaration was signed by 19 countries to support the construction of zero-emission shipping routes. This involves constructing at least six zero-emission maritime corridors by the middle of this decade, with the goal of completing many more by 2030.
These green corridors indicate that ships transporting commodities throughout the world will use fuels sourced from green hydrogen – hydrogen generated by renewable energy – renewable electricity, and other sustainable options instead of hydrocarbon fuels.
Also, Amazon, IKEA, Michelin, Unilever, and Patagonia want to convert 100% of their ocean freight to vessels driven by zero-carbon energy by 2040.
In the aviation industry and major corporate customers too 80 signatories have committed to increasing green fuel consumption to 10% of global jet fuel demand by 2030.
These ‘green fuels,’ which are extremely similar in chemistry to typical fossil jet fuel, are made from sustainable feedstock such as cooking oil, palm waste oil from animals or plants, and solid waste from households and businesses.
If achieved, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 60 million tonnes per year, and about 300,000 ‘green’ jobs will be created.