Paris, 8 December 2015—At a meeting at the COP21 in Paris, ministers and senior representatives from the vehicles industry, civil society and international organizations have called for a swift move to zero emissions vehicles as a key component of a future global climate change strategy.
Currently the transport sector is almost completely dependent on fossil fuels. It contributes for one quarter to all energy related carbon dioxide emissions, which is set to grow to one-third, growing faster than any other sector.
The meeting also recognized that zero emissions vehicles need to be seen as part of a wider strategy for a more sustainable transport sector that includes better city planning, public transport and non-motorized transport, among others. Dr. Clos, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat - UN’s Human Settlements Programme - said: “ZEVs will also reduce local air pollution in cities that is causing immense damage to health and the economy. The uptake of electric-mobility will be more feasible and also fruitful if cities adopt compact planning and measures to improve public transport.“
The event recognized the important role of the industry in making the global shift to zero emissions vehicles and the need to develop public private partnerships to support a wider introduction of zero emissions vehicles. In that context Ms. Dijksma, the Netherlands State Secretary for Environment and Infrastructure, said “It is exciting to see that more and more car makers from all around the world are developing and producing mass market zero emission cars. The transition to zero emission mobility is in my opinion unstoppable and also absolutely necessary to make our world more safe, sustainable and liveable.”
The event discussed that any future climate plan would need to include major emissions reductions of the transport sector, and that zero emissions vehicles, and in specific electric vehicles, would be an essential component to achieve those emissions reductions. Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said: “Electric vehicles can drive us into a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. The IEA has shown that if global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees, at least a fifth of all vehicles on roads by 2030 should be electric.”
The event called for a global approach to electrification of vehicles, to ensure maximum climate and air quality benefits. Organisations present at the event promised to work together to develop such a coordinated global approach. Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “The time has come to start developing a global push towards zero emissions vehicles. The continued use of fossil fuels for transport is costing too much - climate, air pollution and economic costs. To get the necessary benefits we need to ensure this will indeed be a global shift - in all regions and countries world-wide”.
The event found that while the world will still rely on fossil fuels for transportation needs for some time, the time is now to start a global shift to zero emissions vehicles. The event showed that zero emissions vehicles are successfully being introduced in different market segments – electric 2 wheelers, private cars, and city busses.
Several existing and new programs to promote zero emissions vehicles were showcased at the event, including the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative, hosted by the International Energy Agency; the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative of UN-Habitat, and the Zero Emissions Vehicles Alliance launched by the US State of California, together with Québec, and the Netherlands. UNEP announced a new global programme to support emerging economies to promote to electric mobility.