By on November 11, 2021

You’ll notice an intentional and obvious use of the word ‘some’ in that headline. At the COP26 global climate summit currently being held in Glasgow, a handful of automakers and two dozen countries committed to an agreement calling for the end of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 or earlier.

Headline signatories include the likes of Ford, GM Volvo, and Mercedes – along with reps from places such as Canada, the U.K., and Sweden. Not everyone chose to jump on board, however, including a couple of major world powers and two of the planet’s largest car companies.

Officially titled the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, the document pledges to rapidly accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt within this context, the declaration states that such a machine is one that produces zero greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe.

Automakers whose names do not appear on the signed document include Toyota and VW, notable since they are two of the world’s biggest car companies. Also missing are Stellantis, Honda, and Hyundai among others. Specifically, the agreement states that automotive manufacturers will work towards reaching 100 percent zero-emission new car and van sales in leading markets by 2035 or earlier, supported by a business strategy in line with achieving that ambition while building customer demand.

Talking heads have referenced industry sources who’ve apparently said some automakers are leery of this particular COP26 pledge since it commits them to a costly shift in technology but lacks a similar commitment from governments. This, they say, fails to ensure the necessary charging and grid infrastructure would be built to support an onslaught of vehicles not powered by traditional fuel sources.

It’s important to know that a footnote on the document makes clear this declaration is “not legally binding and focused on a global level”, much like so-called Memorandums of Understanding or various and sundry other proclamations that don’t have legal teeth until working their way through legislation.

Interestingly, while the United States government as a whole is not on board with this particular declaration, key car-buying areas like California, Dallas, New York City, and Ann Arbor, Michigan did sign, as noted in the paper’s Cities, States & Regional Governments section. What’s the difference? Well, these regions have pledged to put efforts toward converting their fleets to zero-emission vehicles by 2035 at the latest, plus to put in place policies that will enable, accelerate, or otherwise incentivize the transition to zero-emission vehicles as soon as possible, to the extent possible given their jurisdictional powers.

This corner of COP26 wasn’t all about gubbmints and carmakers, with fleet companies and investors with significant shareholdings in automotive manufacturers also invited to sign up for these goals.

Speaking of, what’s your take on these types of agreements and events like this in general? You know where the comments section is; sound off below.

[image: Shutterstock]

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37 Comments on “Passing Gas: Some Automakers and Countries Commit to Ending Fossil Fuel Vehicles by 2024...”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Any company can sign any accord they want, they’re free to do that. What happens at the next shareholders’ meeting might be different. For Ford, the next meeting of the ford family might be interesting.

    Any non-elected government official can sign an accord stating “Matthew Guy has a sub-100 IQ and masturbates far more often than any normal male”. Getting that accord approved by the house, the senate and signed by the president is a whole different story.

    Got your attention by now? TTAC too often posts about accords, declarations, and loud farts and expects us to rise up in moral umbrage. All these are declarations of people meaning good or bad depending on your political views.

    Clickbait while wearing sweatpants from a home office. I’m heading to the microwave to fix popcorn.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure Matt’s IQ isn’t below 100. The other thing, I mean– throw no stones, right? ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Who wants to be “normal” anyway?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @jo 1. Made you look 2. Should I be hiring lobbyists?

        • 0 avatar

          Govt clamping down on most aspects of your life. Some people are a little pizzed. Govt has…
          – outlawed strike anywhere matches. (the new ones dont work)
          – required lo flo toilets
          – lo flo shower heads
          – IC engines gone.
          – Potato head will keep the heatbreak coming.

          Some are responding by burning their trash (with lots of plastic).

          i m getting a nice new V 8 pickup soon.
          And buying a tractor with a Detroit Diesel 2 stroke. I ve had it.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, I do miss the old-school Ohio blue tip matches. Water saving – the west is in a major drought so those standards make sense. And like it or not, without mandates, such needed steps won’t happen. Think cars would have so much safety equipment if not mandated? While the market now demands it, mandatory requirements made it happen. If the mandates went away, yeah Volvo and Subaru would likely continue with the equipment but most others would see an opportunity to cut costs by eliminating some of it and hope to pick up sales – the usual money first and foremost over everything.

    • 0 avatar

      @el scotto:

      Well put. It seems TTAC is taking advantage of these anxious times by constantly putting up these non-stories (and anything written by Matt Posky) to drive arguing clicks. Just look at the number of comments (and we’re both guilty here as well) on these types of stories versus the excellent Rare Rides and other pieces.

      As an 52-year-old mechanic, I have always said it never turns out well when government gets involved in car design, having seen beautiful cars made ugly with useless 5mph bumpers and had my neck strangled by a motorized seatbelt of a car I reached in to turn the ignition on for a test. I remember the first gen airbags that killed people because they were mandated before they were ready, and saw all the wrecked police cars with first-gen ABS brakes.

      The only caveat, however, is that if the government never set any tone or regulations, I wonder if cars would have had such rapid improvements in safety in the same time span. Would we have crumple zones without the original bumper impact regulations, and modern airbags without the problematic initial airbag mandates? Were it not for the OBD-II mandate for 1996+ cars, independent shops would be out of business and everyone would be held captive to the dealers. (Hope they have the courage to do it again now that carmakers are trying the same collusive behavior via telematics and other proprietary lockdowns.) I love old cars, but I want my kids in vehicles with today’s safety tech. It’s easy to criticize government regulation (as I myself do), but it’s also clear it has saved many lives and made cars easier to repair.

    • 0 avatar

      el scotto, are you sure you IQ is not less than 100? You know, it might just be.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ILO Two simple reasons: 1. American English is my native language. 2. I don’t work for a Russian troll farm.

        You claim that you’re an American but you consistently exhibit gross ignorance of American culture and history. The culture I can understand from an IT guy, as you claim to be; but you have to have knowledge of American history to pass your citizenship exam. I’ve helped smart ex-Russians study for and pass their test.

        I tell you what. You and Slavuta start a go fund me page for one way tickets from Moscow to New York. The B&B will help you two study for your citizenship exam. I can say you two are doing a mighty fine job keeping your ineptitude from your troll farm overlords. Keep up the good work and stay in St. Petersburg! I understand that gulag guards get cold and lonely.

        • 0 avatar

          el Scotto, are your aware that you talk like a racist? Knowledge of English has nothing to do with IQ as well as knowledge of American history (which btw constantly changes recently and your heroes become villains and vice versa ). There are also other languages on the planet, you know. E.g. Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity were formulated in German language. You will not claim that Einstein and Schrodinger had low IQ and were German trolls would you?

  • avatar

    How will they get Amazon deliveries?

  • avatar

    Virtue signaling at its finest.

  • avatar

    48 people smarter than me will point out that there is a (large) difference between:

    a) “reaching 100 percent zero-emission –new car and van sales– in leading markets by 2035 or earlier” and

    b) “Ending Fossil Fuel Vehicles by 2024”

    Fiddle around all you want with what is offered for sale (and I may buy it or not). But come after the vehicles in my driveway and things are going to escalate.

    Has Ann Arbor been annexed by San Francisco yet?

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @Toolguy Sir, too many market forces at work. F-150s and Silverados are consistently the best-selling vehicles in North America. Ford, GM, and the UAW will fight this tooth and nail. So will elected representatives from any district that makes cars or car parts. A bipartisan committee of American-Canadian politicians may occur. They didn’t say anything about USED ICE vehicles.

      Or a law firm well connected to the Cuban American community could quietly spread this message. Your cousin in Havana who is a mechanic? We’ll get him to the states and the immigration judge will be taken care of. A job, an apartment, language lessons, and we’ll get his kids in school. We’ll get him and his family out using some “security advisors” and using a fast boat, the fast boat will go to a rented yacht flagged in Curacao and owned by a Panamanian company, the yacht will discretely dock in Miami and some college kid in a rented van that we paid for will drive them to their new home.

      He’ll learn about Snap-on Tools payment plan and his family will learn about Wal-Mart.

  • avatar

    Major adoption of BEVs and “green energy” in general depends almost solely on the advancement of battery technology. It isn’t going to come through non-binding agreements nor through urban ordinance razzle dazzle.

    Take whatever year you think the battery revolution occurs, add 8, and there’s your answer.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Is the ‘2024’ in the headline correct? That’s like half a dog-year from now.

  • avatar

    Headline says 2024. First paragraph says 2040. Fourth paragraph says 2035. WTF?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure its a screw up on the author’s part but lofty dates allow them to easily move the goal posts later when the whole plan cannot succeed. 2035 will become 2045 in 2025 when this bullsh!t still hasn’t gotten off the ground yet.

  • avatar

    It’s one thing to promise to cease manufacture of IC engines on a specified date. It’s another to have the technology in place by then to replace the tried and true with BEVs that work as well. Is there anyone else here old enough to remember the 1970s? Vehicles from that decade performed poorly because exhaust emission limits, to which the manufacturers had no choice but to adhere, required technology that did not exist until the 1980s.

    We’re in the same situation with BEVs, today. If you consider batteries and gas tanks simply on their merits as energy storage devices, batteries still can’t compete with gas tanks. You have to put your thumb on the scale, by prioritizing CO2 emissions, to make batteries appear preferable. I expect this will change as battery technology continues to improve but we’re not there yet and there’s no guarantee we will be by any arbitrarily selected date.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A big difference between then and now is that EVs are actually very nice to drive, compared to anything built in 1975, for instance. People then knew what they had lost in just a few short years, and they had no choice in the matter.

      Today, people still have a choice, and EVs continue to gain popularity. We are not entering a 2nd malaise era.

      I guess for me, the only sacrifice is the ease of long-distance filling offered by ICEs, a gap which is quickly closing.

      • 0 avatar

        I would disagree about entering a new Malaise Era, but whatever.

        One thing for sure if I’m ever forced into a glorified golf cart is this: my OCD and being pi$$ed-off in general with interior squeaks and rattles is bad enough with existing vehicles! With the quieter interior in an EV, do you really think that the automakers are going to sweat the details chasing that stuff down? That almost seems to be the first place they start cutting corners, especially when they also start advertising the virtues of easily-recycled parts!

  • avatar

    “Specifically, the agreement states that automotive manufacturers will work towards reaching 100 percent zero-emission new car and van sales in leading markets by 2035 or earlier, supported by a business strategy in line with achieving that ambition while building customer demand.”

    Well they will never be able to fulfill that agreement since there is no business strategy which supports it. Oh and before the Tesla faithful reply, the entire company is extremely unusual for an automaker since for years its main sources of revenue were 1. corporate welfare directly from or as the result of technocratic diktats and 2. the company’s stock is and has been more of a financial instrument than a traditional car company paying dividends.

    If the billion dollar speculators and masters of the counterfeiting universe had no interest it in, it probably would have never gotten off the ground in the first place. You small shareholders who “believed in it” (and were rewarded handsomely) did not have an impact on the stock’s price, just as all retail traders have near zero impact on pricing. Tesla existed and continues to exist on a totally artificial basis, Tesla would not have been able to succeed in the financial world of pre-2008 even with corporate welfare because their business model is far too limited and things like safety standards are too expensive to engineer and keep up with – which is why there are not a proliferation of companies coming out of the owner’s garage so to speak.

  • avatar

    Unless this is going to be green washing, the power generated must be from non-fossil fuel sources. Traditional electric generation is also remarkably inefficient. I’d like to think a solid “well to wheel” study was done to see where it all shakes out.

    There is some online chatter about Snapple going to all-plastic bottles. The knee-jerk reaction is to say bad, but is it? Less weight being trucked around, smaller size means more actual product on those trucks, and the plastic is allegedly recycled. It would be interesting to see a study of the old glass vs the new plastic. Plastic *might* actually be the lower carbon answer.

    Without detailed study all these moves might well be for naught.

  • avatar

    Imaging being so virtuous that you create policy on the fallacy that EVs are zero emission.

    They are far dirtier than ICE vehicles. That’s a very well known fact. Imaging thinking you are saving the planet (that doesn’t need to be saved, it’s fine) by doing something that is far more damaging than what we are currently doing.

    • 0 avatar

      From the article headlines leading into the story you posted…

      …Volvo says emissions from making EVs can be 70% higher than petrol models – and claims it can take up to 9 YEARS of driving before they become greener

      Volvo claims carbon-intensive production for battery and steel makes its C40 EV more polluting to manufacture than an XC40 with a petrol engine
      It says at current global electricity mix, it needs to be driven almost 70k miles – 9 years based on average UK mileage – to offset its higher production emissions
      This can be reduced to less than 30k miles if EVs are charged with green energy
      It has called on world leaders to accelerate the clean energy investment
      Swedish maker is publishing emissions transparency reports for all EVs released…

      So, while EVs are not zero impact (duh), your statement of “they are far dirtier than ICE vehicles is patently false. Average age of cars is well beyond 9 years and 30K of mileage.

      As for the planet being fine, in geological time frames you are right. If we died off tomorrow the planet would wipe our effects away. But in human time frames, the ones that matter to all of us, that is not true at all.

  • avatar

    The rush to EVs is dumb . It isn’t proven there will be a net global environmental benefit . The accelerated interest is about $ , period.

  • avatar

    I did not notice mentioning of 2024 in the article. Am I missing something?

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