Canada became the first country to sign on to the Drive to Zero Pledge, an international effort to boost the number of zero- and low-emission vehicles in medium- and heavy-duty transportation, from box trucks to school buses to 18-wheelers, during the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver earlier this week.
“The Drive to Zero Pledge is spearheaded by CALSTART, a California-based non-profit and broker for the clean transportation technology industry. The goal of the campaign is to make zero-emission technology commercially viable in ‘beachhead’ or smaller markets by 2025, building up to the domination of zero-emission technology in commercial vehicle sales globally by 2040,” National Observer reports.
“By signing the pledge, Canada is joining other partners, including municipal governments, in committing to eliminate barriers and implement mechanisms that accelerate the viability and growth of zero-emission technology for these commercial vehicles.”
“It’s so important that we look at our medium- and heavy-duty vehicles…our buses and trucks,” federal Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna said Tuesday. “We can be doing a lot better.”
Observer notes that heavy-duty gasoline vehicles accounts for 13 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, heavy-duty diesel vehicles for 47 Mt. “These totals add up to increases of 11 and 28%, respectively, between 2005 and 2017. Combined, emissions from these heavy-duty vehicles comprised nearly 30% of the total amount of heat-trapping pollution from Canada’s transportation sector, which added up to 201 megatonnes in 2017.”
The sector as a whole accounted for 24% of the country’s emissions in 2017, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the national figure obscures some major differences among provinces. “In some provinces, like my own in Quebec, transportation is actually 43% of emissions,” said Équiterre co-founder Steven Guilbeault, co-chair of McKenna’s Advisory Council on Climate Action.
Clean Energy Ministerial participants also heard that investments related to the climate crisis and the transition off carbon are “clearly going to stay”.
That’s because “the needs are huge,” European Investment Bank Vice President Ambroise Fayolle told a panel session. “We know that in Europe only, we would need to invest €400 billion (US$602 billion) every year to catch up on the needs of energy efficiency.”
Fayolle added that private investors “need support from the public sector in order to finance very big projects or to take more risks. Often private investors say they would like to be more active, but it is either too costly for them in terms of capital, or they would need to have something more.”
Observer says the EIB loaned out €55.63 billion last year, including €16.2 billion for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Last year’s total exceeded the bank’s minimum target of 25% for climate-related investments.