Eight major nations – Canada, China, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. – officially signed a Government Fleet Declaration today, pledging to increase the share of electric vehicles (EVs) in their government fleets to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
Announced at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP22, the declaration was developed under the aegis of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative (CEM-EVI).
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the agreement emphasizes the renewal of government fleets and showcases specific and voluntary commitments of these countries to accelerate the introduction of low-emission vehicles in their vehicle fleets. Through this declaration, the eight signatory governments are taking a leadership role in this movement and encouraging others to speed up the transition to a low-carbon transport system.
Greenhouse-gas emissions from the transport sector account for nearly a quarter of total emissions today, and unless high-impact actions are taken, that share will only continue to increase. The IEA says that “changing the trajectory of emission in road transportation involves a global shift toward low-emission vehicles, along with the adoption of broader, sustainable transportation principles.”
The voluntary commitments taken by these countries will reduce fleets’ greenhouse-gas emissions and help accelerate the shift to low-emission vehicles – in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As reported, the members of the CEM-EVI are now cooperating to facilitate the global deployment of 20 million EVs, including plug-in hybrid EVs and fuel cell vehicles, by 2020. This agreement is also in line with the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action released at COP21 during the Lima Paris Action Agenda Transport Focus, which specifies that at least 20% of all road transport vehicles globally should be electrically powered by 2030 to respect a less-than-2-degree pathway.
This declaration also encourages non-state actors, such as cities, regional and state governments, companies, sectorial federations, and other organizations, to accelerate the energy transition with the introduction of clean vehicles in their fleets, including transit buses and taxi fleets, as well as municipal and corporate fleets.
Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, says, “Although the global fleet of electric cars has surged past the 1 million milestone, it still represents less than one percent of what is needed to decarbonize the energy system. The Electric Vehicles Initiative, including its new Government Fleet Declaration, can play a key role in unlocking the full potential of electric vehicles. The IEA – as the new home of the Clean Energy Ministerial – is honored to be at the heart of its work.”
Several country representatives spoke of their commitment to a clean energy economy and their own actions to advance such technology.
Christine Harada, federal chief sustainability officer in the White House Council on Environmental Quality, says, “The Obama administration is committed to taking responsible steps to combat climate change, increase access to clean energy technologies and reduce our dependence on oil. By working together across the federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward.”
Jim Carr, Canada’s minister of natural resources, comments, “The government of Canada is leading by example and committed to delivering a low-carbon, clean growth economy and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. We are pleased to support this declaration by accelerating the deployment of clean vehicles in our fleet. This support for electric vehicles contributes to our government’s overall strategy to advance clean technology and innovation in Canada.”
Koichi Yamamoto, Japanese minister of the environment, says, “Energy-efficient, next-generation vehicles [are] one of the key technologies for drastic CO2 emission reduction in the transportation sector. National and local governments are expected to take the lead in the deployment of such vehicles. The Japanese government plans to renew almost all of the government vehicle fleet to next-generation vehicles by 2030 in accordance with the Government Fleet Declaration to accelerate the worldwide deployment of next-generation vehicles.”
Wan Gang, Chinese minister of science and technology, adds, “As one of the leads on [the] CEM-EVI initiative and the host of the 8th Ministerial Conference on clean energy, China is very pleased to join the Government Fleet Declaration. We hope to implement the Paris Agreement actively, deploy and promote the electric cars together with more countries that have a common objective.”