We look forward to the latest news from COP27, where world leaders discuss climate change, the energy crisis and sustainable transport. We expect to see governments, financial institutions, and businesses pledge their meaningful contributions to scale up electrification. Without urgent action, we know that global emissions from transport are on track to double by 2050 – making climate change irreversible. As we draw ever nearer to net zero targets, this year’s UN climate change conference may be the most challenging to date. As decarbonisation pressures increase, decision-makers must focus on finding innovative ways to support individuals, businesses, regions and countries with sustainable transport solutions, in order to reach targets.
Investing in a better future
An overarching goal of COP26’s Transport Day saw countries, local authorities, and companies sign a pledge to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Since last year’s conference, Europe has seen significant progress in the number of EVs on the roads. However, while 2035 targets make for a good headline, these targets must be achievable in relation to local government policies, restrictions and incentives, and take into account local market conditions.
With mounting pressure to hit these targets each year, we’ve seen further incentivisation for electrification. For example, in Poland we’re taking part in a government incentives programme providing leasing companies with subsidies aimed at accelerating the growth of electromobility. We’re also seeing growing investment in greener mobility options; in our own business, we registered 40% more EVs this year compared to 2021, highlighting that customers are increasingly looking for ways to go green.
But despite these incentives, it’s clear that it’s not enough to get us where we need to be by 2050. Further action is needed now. During COP27 we want to see governments increase business incentivisation on a wider scale, to ensure that choosing the green option is the easiest option – and with two-thirds of new vehicles in Europe purchased for company fleets, the role of business cannot be understated.
With 2035 now only 13 years away, climate conversations must look at electrification holistically. Relying on merely increasing the use of electric cars cannot be the only solution, with the price of electric vehicles meaning that many may struggle to afford them, not to mention the strain on our existing grids. As we know from our local teams, each country faces different barriers to adoption, and for rural areas particularly, there is often a lack of development and adequate charging infrastructure. Technology will have a significant part to play in facilitating seamless electric journeys, with smart charging overcoming many of these barriers. But while cars are essential for many, it’s also vital to improve and encourage use of public transport, as well as walking, cycling, and micro-mobility solutions where possible. These solutions must all come into play if we are to solve the climate crisis.
Despite all this, at COP27, the solution to decarbonise mobility will need to be understood as going far beyond increasing numbers of electric modes of transport or encouraging people to cycle more. It will require businesses and governments across the globe to work together to invest in a green future through innovation, better planning, and in some cases may mean the re-organisation of infrastructure within cities and towns.
Leaders must use this time to consider how innovation can help bring smarter mobility solutions onto our streets. Public money must work together with industry expertise, and we all have a role to play in facilitating the switch. We are determined to support our customers on this journey, offering practical advice on how to make a carbon-free future a reality for their businesses. By focusing efforts on electrifying transport in Europe, we can mitigate more than 70% of mobility CO2 urban emissions and remove 50% of city air pollution – while also providing transport solutions that are more cost-effective and efficient for all.
There is an inevitable link between facilitating smart transport mobility solutions and decarbonisation. As transport discussions take place next week, we hope to see the evolution from pledge-making in 2021, to strategic solutions at COP27.