COP28: Stronger zero-emission transport ambition,
policies needed now to lessen climate impacts, reach climate goals

Cape Verde, Colombia, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Papua New Guinea join growing number of countries
committed to reaching 100% new zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2040

DUBAI — An urgent call to action from COP28: governments, private sector leaders, and climate experts say stronger ambitions and policies to lessen global climate impacts from diesel-polluting trucks and buses are needed now. In answer to this urgent need, today Cape Verde, Colombia, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Papua New Guinea joined a growing group of countries committing to ambitious zero-emission transport goals.

“The signal being sent by these new counties is clear: zero-emission commercial vehicles are viable and a great strategy to not only cut climate pollution but also improve public health and reduce costly oil imports. We welcome these new nations into the Global MOU community where they can learn about best practices and accelerate the movement to a better and healthier future,” said John Boesel, CEO of clean transportation accelerator CALSTART.

These countries, along with 27 previously announced countries, are now signatories to the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (Global MOU) (see the full list of Global MOU countries here). Led by CALSTART and the Netherlands, the Global MOU calls for 100% new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (ZE-MHDV) sales by 2040 at the latest, with an interim goal of at least 30% new sales by 2030. Global MOU countries now represent roughly 21 percent of the MHDV sales market globally. CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero (Drive to ZeroTM) and the government of the Netherlands announced the new signatory countries today at a high-level COP28 event.

“With freight transport on the African continent due to double before 2050, we need to seek global collaboration to ensure this growth is sustainable. Governments must encourage and support the private sector with the right mix of policy and regulatory actions to ensure we reach our climate objectives over the next decade. Ghana is proud to be amongst the first African nations to join this global Initiative and ready to work with industry players to make the transition possible,” said the Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister for Transport, Republic of Ghana.

“The world recognizes that transport emissions must be significantly reduced during this critical decade in order to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. Today at COP28, Israel announced it would be joining the Global MOU, a noteworthy initiative for increasing international cooperation for promoting sustainable transport,” said Minister Miri Regev and Minister Idit Silman from Israel’s Ministries of Transport and Environmental Protection. “We are already on track with the successful deployment of zero-emission buses for public transportation and trucks are next in line. Sharing experience and expertise with other countries will be beneficial, as we prepare for including new requirements for heavy vehicle fleets in our climate and air pollution mitigation policies and regulations. Tackling transport and environmental protection issues together is a win-win situation on the pathway to achieving net zero emissions for a low-carbon economy.”

“Decarbonizing MHDVs is crucial in meeting Iceland’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality and become independent of fossil fuels by 2040. The challenge is complex but with tangible solutions. Collaboration in accelerating the transition supports us in our journey towards a complete energy transition by 2040,” said Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Infrastructure for Iceland.

“Papua New Guinea stands at the beginning of its journey towards zero-emission transport. At this moment, we have zero-emission buses, and by joining the Global MOU community we hope to accelerate our transition. Papua New Guinea recognizes the need for collaboration to scale up, as it is essential for us to upscale the renewables needed for the transition to zero-emission transport and a zero-emission fleet in Papua New Guinea. The Global MOU community will provide us with the opportunity to collaborate with other islands and exchange knowledge with other countries,” said the Hon. Simo Kilepa, Minister for Environment Conservation and Climate Change for Papua New Guinea.

“If we want emissions of transport to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, we need clear ambitions. That is why we initiated the Global MOU on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles together with CALSTART at COP26. I am very happy to see that our global community keeps growing and really proud that we can welcome emerging economies as well, as this transition needs to be just and global,” said Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands.

In order to further accelerate the global transition to zero-emission transport, this week CALSTART presented multiple knowledge products aimed at spotlighting the most innovative global ZE-MHDV policies around the world and providing recommendations for governmental and other stakeholder action in 2024 (Global Progress Toward Decarbonizing Transportation: Multi-Country Action Plan 2023 Update); accelerating finance for ZE-MHDVs in Latin America and the Caribbean (Expanding Access to Financing for Zero-Emission Trucks in Latin America and the Caribbean / Ampliando el acceso a financiamiento para camiones de cero emisiones en América Latina y el Caribe); and accelerating infrastructure needed for ZE-MHDVs (Locking in Commercial Vehicle Charging Infrastructure). Drive to Zero also kicked off a new video series, Charging Up Change, focused on telling the stories of the people around the world who are changing transportation for good.

“We need strong and ambitious policy levers at all levels of government that grow the zero-emission truck and bus sector. These vehicles deliver environmental, economic, operational, and health benefits while replacing the dependency on fossil fuels—all of which we need now,” said Stephanie Kodish, CALSTART’s Global Senior Director and head of its Drive to Zero program and campaign. “Global MOU countries have reached a tipping point—they now represent a substantial share of the market to significantly influence this sector and our global transport future. And that is what we must do.”

In addition to Global MOU countries, more than 110 subnational governments and private sector innovators have signed formal acknowledgements endorsing the Global MOU. New endorsers announced today include 23 Consulting LLC, Asociación de Vehículos Eléctricos de Chile (AVEC), Aveva, Billion Electric Mobility, Brooklyn SolarWorks, Business Region Göteborg AB, Cityfi, Cenntro Automotive Corporation, Clearly, Colruyt Group, DISIDE Technologies Private Limited, Electreon, Eleo Technologies, EVage Motors, EVBox, Fountain Fuel, Gage Zero, Harbinger Motors, Highland Electric Fleets, KDG Logistics, Omega Seiki Mobility, Pmanifold, Proxio Systems, PSPA, Quelimane Municipality, Range Energy, ReLOG3P SRL, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), the electric Mission, Think Snappy Inc., Umovity, Unique Electric Solutions Incorporated, Van Kessel, VDL Bus & Coach, Zenobe Energy Limited, and Zeus.

To support countries who are setting ambitious zero-emission transport goals, Drive to Zero and the Netherlands lead the Global MOU community to advance actions to achieve the transition to ZE-MHDVs. Key activities include collaboration, knowledge sharing and access to networks and resources, which is supported within and across countries by the Global Implementation Hub network. The proof-of-concept implementation hub, now launched in the Netherlands, offers support with the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, based on technology and adaptable tools. A local implementing partner provides fleet support to local fleet owners, in this way accelerating their journey towards zero-emission transport. The first pilot projects have started and this will be replicated in other Global MOU countries.

Global MOU countries will also have access to support tools such as the Zero Emission Vehicle Rapid Response Facility (ZEV-RRF), an initiative of the Zero Emission VehiclesTransition Council (ZEVTC). ZEV-RRF provides short-term technical assistance to emerging markets and developing economy countries that are decarbonizing their road transportation sectors, and has received US$400,000 in seed funding from the Drive Electric Campaign to provide regulatory support.

Drive to Zero is an official campaign of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) under the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).

About Drive to Zero

To align government and industry actions and ambition, CALSTART’s Drive to Zero program and campaign aims to enable and accelerate the growth of global zero-emission commercial vehicles, and enjoys the support of top manufacturers, fleets, governments, and infrastructure providers.