The scale of emissions-related innovation is welcome but the pace must not be allowed to slow if global shipping is to achieve a 5% zero-emission fuel target by 2030, argue Climate Champion Katharine Palmer and Global Maritime Forum CEO, Johannah Christensen.
TRAVELLING SMOOTHLY FROM ‘A’ TO ‘B’ . . . WITH ZERO EMISSIONS
By 2050. Polluting modes of transport are now a thing of the past, thanks first to the adoption of low-emission options and more latterly by 100% carbon-free alternatives. Transport is decarbonised by shifting to a more sustainable and diverse range of modes and vehicle technologies. The clean electrification of all light-duty vehicles and trains marked a real breakthrough, as did the development of zero-emission liquid fuels for planes, vessels and other long-distance transport.
Global society experiences higher levels of wellbeing and equality. The physical benefits of an uptake in walking, cycling and other forms of active mobility are very noticeable. So are the positive effects of having cleaner air, less noise and safer roads. The social gains from upgrades to transport infrastructure have begun to filter through strongly. Everyone says that traveling from “A” to “B” is considerably more efficient, reliable and affordable than before, which provides equal access to opportunities. Women report feeling safer when travelling on public transport thanks to new security measures.
One of the biggest changes is the seamless connectivity between different parts of the transport system. This makes switching between different transport modes infinitely easier. The assistive hand of digital technologies and advanced data management systems is particularly apparent here. These same tools have also radically increased the resilience of today’s transport systems, making them better prepared for extreme weather and other shock events.
None of this would have been possible without updating institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks so that policymakers can give maximum priority to sustainability issues. Likewise, reforms to out-dated financing and funding structures have caused capital investment in zero-carbon solutions to skyrocket.
An A380 Airbus recently flew for three hours with one engine powered entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), made from used cooking oil and other fats.
Green corridors have been likened to special economic zones at sea — arenas where companies deploy new technologies and business models at full scale, interacting with each other and with regulations and incentives tailored to their efforts.
Transforming global shipping is a critical part of reaching the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and building zero emissions, resilient global supply chains that billions of people rely on.
Electric cars could help to power millions of households in the coming years, simply by harnessing their battery power. The electricity in the vehicle’s battery could be plugged back into the grid, instead of being stored.
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The global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery.
World’s top automakers commit to EVs
Virtually all of the world’s largest automakers have committed to electrify part or all of their fleet – recognizing the growing demand signals and increasing policy support for zero-carbon transport. Many of these companies are going further – committing to limit their emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Companies back the science
30 companies in the Automobiles and Components sector have committed to science-based targets, through the Science Based Target initiative. Over a third of these have either committed or have had their targets approved this year (2020) – showing COVID-19 is not impacting climate ambition.
European automakers accelerate climate action
Germany’s BMW Group is the latest global automaker to commit to setting a science-based target. This is in addition to five of Europe’s largest automakers, PSA Group, Volkwagen, Groupe Renault, Volvo Car Group, and Daimler / Mercedes-Benz AG, which all have approved science-based targets.
Mercedes-Benz heads for carbon neutrality
Mercedes-Benz joined “The Climate Pledge” – a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism. As part of its achieving its own climate targets, Amazon has ordered more than 1,800 electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans. Last year, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler committed to make its entire passenger car fleet carbon neutral by the close of 2039.
Volkswagen doubles down on electric models
German automaker Volkswagen has accelerated plans to electrify its fleet, committing to launch 70 fully electric models by 2028, up from an earlier pledge to sell 50 by 2025. VW also set long-term ambitions to make the entire company CO2-neutral by 2050, including its factories, offices and cars and has set a science-based target.
Volvo will not launch another ICE-only model
Volvo is making progress on its commitment to phase out purely petrol and diesel powered cars, which it announced back in 2017. By the middle of this decade, the Swedish manufacturer expects to generate half of its worldwide sales with purely electric vehicles and the other half with hybrid cars.
J apan’s auto giants back climate strategy
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor and Yamaha Motor have committed to set science-based targets, while India’s Mahindra & Mahindra has an approved target.
Tesla lays down a challenge
And of course there’s Tesla – the poster-child for EVs and a genuine pioneer – is now the largest automaker by market cap, having overtaken GM and Ford. It is also outselling luxury German models from BMW, Audi and Mercedes in the US market.
Supply chain pioneers step up
A growing number of companies in the auto supply chain are also committing, including German tyre giant Continental, Mexico’s Nemak and Portugal’s TMG Automotive.
EVdemand proves resilient
Despite a global slowdown in all car sales during the first quarter of 2020, caused by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, European EV sales rose – pushing the region’s overall EV penetration rate up to 7.5%.
Sales of EVs are set to grow
Sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019 to boost the stock to 7.2 million. Electric cars registered a 40% year-on-year increase in 2019, accounting for 2.6% of global car sales and about 1% of global car stock. BNEF analysis suggests that EV adoption will continue to accelerate despite the short-term impacts from the pandemic, with electric models accounting for nearly 60 percent of all new passenger car sales worldwide by 2040.
EV100 delivers a demand signal
Businesses account for about 50% of all light vehicles purchased. Corporate buyers of cars continue to signal their growing demand for EVs through the The Climate Group’s EV100. To date over 80 companies have joined EV100, including Deutsche Post DHL Group, UPS, IKEA Group, CLP Group and AstraZeneca, with a commitment to accelerate the transition to EVs and make electric transport the new normal by 2030. It also includes mobility solutions groups, such as India’s Shuttl and Lime in the US.
DHL delivers a bold vision
Electrification is now starting to make commercial sense for companies – like Deutsche Post DHL Group – with fleets of tens of thousands of electric vans and delivery bikes. DHL has committed to reduce logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050. As part of this effort, the company aims to operate 70% of its own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions, such as electric bicycles and vans by 2025.
LeasePlan is transitioning its fleet of 1.8 million
They’re not alone in making these large-scale transition decisions: LeasePlan – with 1.8 million vehicles on the road – is working toward net-zero emissions by 2030 and aiming to transition its employee fleet to 100% EVs by 2021.
UPS develops its ‘rolling laboratory’
It’s a similar story over at UPS. A company that is already operating one of the industry’s largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets – a ‘rolling laboratory’ of more than 10,000 low-carbon vehicles, including EVs and hybrids.
IKEA aims for 100% of home deliveries by EV
IKEA Group has a massive home delivery fleet and is rolling out net-zero emission deliveries across five prioritized inner cities (Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai) by 2020. The company’s goal is for 100% of home deliveries by EV or other zero-emission solutions by 2025.
Utilities embrace EVs
Some of the most visible fleets on our roads are utilities – the gas, electric, telecoms and water companies – that run large fleets of vans to keep the essential services we depend on running smoothly. A growing number of them are committing to accelerate the transition to EVs and developing charging infrastructure. The UK’s Centrica and SSE, EDF in France, E.ON in Germany, China Light and Power in China, and PG&E in the US are all starting a wholesale transition to zero-carbon fleets.
Battery costs are tumbling
The best measure of progress when it comes to battery technology for EVs is the cost in dollars of storing a kilowatt hour (kWh). In just eight years – from 2010 to 2018, this fell by 85% – from $1,160, to $176.
Battery costs are expected to full further
Battery prices are expected to fall below $100/kWh in 2024, which is the point around which EVs will start to reach price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles, according to BNEF. Industry-weighted average battery pack prices have already fallen to $156/kWh, according to BNEF’s 2019 Battery Price Survey, a fraction of their 2010 price of $1,160/kWh.
Alternative batteries are being developed
Several start-ups with batteries they believe will improve on current lithium-ion technology are due to introduce their cells to the commercial market imminently. Volkswagen has invested $100 million in QuantumScape, a solid-state lithium metal battery pioneer, while the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada is expanding, as Panasonic invests an additional $100 million.
Charging networks starting to grow
Huge amounts of ambition and investment have been put into national charging networks around the world. To give an idea of the scale, charging infrastructure developers ChargePoint and EVBox have committed to installing over 3.5 million new chargers globally by 2025. Meanwhile, California has approved a $437 million project to install nearly 40,000 EV chargers, with Southern California Edison.
Technology is reshaping mobility
Numerous trends, ranging from autonomy and energy decentralization to the Internet of Things, are likely to come together to create drastic changes in mobility systems over the next 10 to 15 years. For example, vehicle automation and connectivity will help achieve climate goals, according to early research, through reduced congestion and journey optimisation, in addition to increased road safety.
Shared mobility is growing fast
The ride sharing market is projected to reach a market size of $218 billion by 2025 from $61 billion in 2018, growing 20% from 2018 to 2025. A study by Berkeley found that each car owned by a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft removes between 5.5 to 12.7 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The end of the car as we know it?
The way people, especially young people, are getting from A to B is radically changing. From ride sharing, to digital cab hailing, EVs on demand and electric scooters, the need and incentive to own a car in urban areas is being reduced. In fact many commentators predict the end of car ownership as we know it.
Formula E pulls into the lead
From entertainment to sport – Formula E – the EV format of F1 is now fully established, and no longer a back-water of motorsport. Indeed F1 is “unlikely to be using petrol by 2025”. And British racing driver Lewis Hamilton will enter a team in the new Extreme E racing series.
Cities get tough on pollution
City mayors from major cities like LA, Cairo and Beijing have started introducing popular emission-reduction measures. The impact of pollution on citizen health is well-known, but now those in charge know if they don’t do something to curb it, it will cost them something more than the health of their citizens – their votes.
It’s costing billions in healthcare
The impact of pollution on health – and it’s financial cost to governments – is immense. According to a report by Deloitte and InnoEnergy, smog reduction could save European citizens over $210 billion (€183 billion) by 2025. $210 billion that could be better spent elsewhere.
Countries are committing to phase out ICE cars
Around twenty countries have committed to completely phasing out gas and diesel powered light passenger vehicles in the coming decades. France and the UK have said that all new cars sold must be electric by 2040, while some countries have committed to achieve that earlier, including the Netherlands and Israel by 2030.
China and India promote EV switching
China has increasing sales quotas for EVs – starting at 10% for 2019 and India is launching a range of incentives to boost EV penetration.
Governments get innovative with incentives
Governments such as Norway and Japan are using incentive schemes to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Purchase subsidies, tax cuts and free parking in certain cities have helped Norway to the highest rate EV penetration of any country.
Cities are leading the charge
The number of cities with proposed end dates for international-combustion engine vehicles has risen to over 20, including London, LA, Cape Town and Mexico City. Many of these are looking to bring forward their proposed end dates.
C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration
Dozens of cities have joined the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, committing to purchase only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensuring a major area of their city is zero emissions by 2030.
Cities and states join the #ZEVChallenge
Over 60 cities, states, and businesses have unveiled plans to deploy zero emission vehicle fleets, with the ZEV Challenge, created by The Climate Group, C40 Cities and the Under2 Coalition.
Boosting industrial competitiveness
Governments can see the economic benefits of policy leadership on EVs – as those countries seizing the opportunity of the EV transition are securing market share. For example, China almost doubled the production and sales of alternative fuel vehicles in the first seven months of 2018, compared to the same period last year. And much of this can be credited to the judicious use of policy.
EV investment set to soar
The global EV market is expected to reach $803 billion by 2027, a near fivefold increase on 2019’s $162 billion total, with an annual growth rate of some 23%.
Automakers are investing billions
Collectively, auto manufacturers have announced over $150 billion in investments to achieve collective production targets of more than 13 million EVs annually around 2025, according to the ICCT, though much more could be in the pipeline.
GM invests in Detroit battery lab
GM announced it will invest $28 million to enhance its battery development and testing lab in Detroit as part of its shift to EVs, though this is relatively small compared to the company’s R&D investment total of over $7 billion.
EVs headed for price parity
EVs are expected to reach price parity with ICE vehicles (without subsidies) by 2023, thanks largely to the falling cost of batteries, according to BNEF.
And it’s coming ‘soon’
And VW’s Reinhard Fischer said the tipping point is near, and that tipping point will be price equity.
Challenges to overcome
The transition to a fully net-zero carbon transport system will not be easy; there are some major challenges, and significant problems that have yet to be tackled.
Concerns about natural resources
The London Metal Exchange will only allow responsibly sourced metals to be traded from 2022. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance recommends that all companies in the minerals supply chain conduct risk-based due diligence to respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their sourcing decisions. The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has made a commitment to eliminate child labour in the mining sector by 2025.
Rising to the challenge of existing ICE cars
Companies are springing up offering conversions for traditional ICE cars to EVs, often for a fraction of the cost of a new EV. This is helping to repurpose old batteries and keep cars from the scrapheap.
Overcoming the carbon footprint of manufacturing
Leading automakers like Daimler and VW are committed to reducing the entire life cycle emissions to zero in the coming decades, including the factories that produce the cars and the parts used to make them. Battery electric cars also make up for higher manufacturing emissions within eighteen months of driving because they generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Concerns about the power used by EVs can be overcome
The transition to EVs should go hand in hand with the transition to zero-carbon power sources to ensure the electricity driving the vehicles is not polluting. But even with current power supplies, EVs can still outperform in terms of emissions. For over 70 percent of Americans, driving an EV results in fewer emissions than even a 50 MPG gasoline vehicle, according to UCS.
Ensuring a just, fair and inclusive transition
As companies and governments accelerate the transition to zero-carbon economies and build resilience to climate impacts, their actions could impact people, workers and communities unequally, both positively and negatively. Forward-looking businesses and policy makers are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the transition is achieved in a way that is just, fair and inclusive.
Ensuring no negative impacts
For the transport sector, this means ensuring workers employed in the production of vehicles, their supply chains and those in distribution and transport services, are not negatively affected by the transition to zero-carbon transport.
Taking the necessary steps
Forward-looking businesses and policy makers are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the transition is achieved in a way that is just, fair and inclusive, so the transition can be successful without leaving anyone behind.
The shift to EV can help boost jobs
Research suggests that the switch to electric vehicles will entail significant changes in the auto industry’s labour market and predictions regarding future employment impacts range dramatically. One study indicates that German GDP could be 0.5 percent higher compared to the baseline in 2030 because of investment in electric vehicles, with a potential net employment creation of approximately 145,000 jobs.
- Re-engineer approaches to urban planning and transit-oriented development to create inter-modal public transport systems that are convenient, affordable and accessible to all.
- Develop and implement national, regional and local plans for sustainable transport and 100% zero-emission vehicle sales transition that are fully financed, easy to scale and collaborative by 2040.
- Link financial support packages for airlines to the achievement of emissions reductions targets and the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels.
- Phase out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles and ensure that all light duty vehicles and heavy duty vehicles are 100% zero-carbon by 2035 and 2040 respectively in leading markets; all trains are electrified by 2040.
- Reduce business travel, shift all vehicle fleets to electric, and set a target for zero-carbon freight (together with an agreed premium).
- Invest in sustainable aviation fuels, increasing consumption to 10% of all aviation fuel by 2030 and 90% by 2040.
- Develop an ambitious, output-driven strategy for public-private investment in capital-intensive transport infrastructure projects covering both the short and long-term.
- Support the greater flow of investment capital into breakthrough research and development projects, such as synthetic fuels for aircraft, advanced batteries for road vehicles, and electrolysis for ships.
- Provide differentiated interest rates based on the emission profiles of shipping vessels and link sectoral insurance premiums to demonstrated investment in climate resilience.
- Back attempts to accelerate the development of advanced battery technology for heavy-duty vehicles as well as short-haul shipping and aviation.
- Help determine which sustainable aviation fuel (i.e. hydrogenated esters and fatty acids, gasification, alcohol-to-jet fuels, and synfuels) has the highest potential and support its rapid commercialisation.
- Advise and encourage large-scale demonstration projects for early-stage sustainable transport technologies, such as the use of green hydrogen in ocean shipping and other heavy-duty sectors.
- Reduce private vehicle ownership and use, increase levels of active mobility, and switch to more sustainable modes of transport wherever possible (e.g. train travel rather than short-haul flights).
- Respond enthusiastically to market incentives to travel more sustainably, such as the use of bike lanes and the purchase of an all-electric vehicle.
- Pressure shipping companies and freight purchasers to commit to quantified targets for zero-carbon freight; call on airlines to adopt science-based emission reduction targets.