RouteZero initiative launched to accelerate decarbonisation of road transport

The Climate Group has partnered with the UN High Level Climate Champions to call for a commitment from businesses, cities and regions to decarbonise all forms of road transport as part of its RouteZero initiative.

RouteZero is a global platform to call for ambitious commitments to zero emission vehicle adoption and has launched today (8 April) to show momentum ahead of the UN climate change summit, COP26.

The platform engages businesses, cities, states, regions, investors and individuals in the shift toward emissions-free road transportation. RouteZero covers all motorised road vehicle segments, including cars, vans, buses, medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks, as well as two and three-wheelers. 

The goal is to increase commitments from players in leading markets by profiling concrete initiatives and steps taken along the value chain, such as automotive manufacturers committing to only sell zero-emission vehicles, city leaders implementing zero-emission areas, individuals pledging to buy electric vehicles, and businesses and public sector bodies switching their entire fleets to zero emissions.

RouteZero was designed in response to the UK government’s clean road transport campaign for COP26 and the UN Race to Zero Breakthroughs. Launched in 2021, the Breakthroughs set out specific, near-term tipping points across all sectors of the global economy, including road transport. In practice, this means that the commitments made under RouteZero align with the breakthrough goals of achieving 100% zero-emission new vehicle sales in leading markets as soon as possible, and no later than: 

  • 2030 for buses;
  • 2035 for cars and vans; and
  • 2040 for heavy goods vehicles.

COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma, said: “We will not win the Race to Zero if we do not accelerate the shift to clean road transport. RouteZero will showcase the highest levels of ambition to drive momentum on the road to COP26, bringing together commitments and evidence of action to send a clear message that zero emission vehicles are the future.”

Transport is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, currently accounting for 24% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. With over 2 billion vehicles on the road with internal combustion engines, road transport is responsible for around three-quarters of these emissions and is a significant cause of toxic air pollution. Zero-emission transport is an effective solution to these urgent environmental and health challenges, and unlocking a faster transition will be critical for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is also an opportunity for green jobs and new investments in manufacturing and infrastructure.

By adding visibility to the growing demand, transformational technologies, bold policymaking, and exciting new business opportunities, RouteZero will send a clear signal to governments, investors and automotive manufacturers that the race to zero emission vehicles is on and can go even faster.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of international non-profit the Climate Group, said: “The transition to zero emission vehicles is well under way – there are now over 100 global businesses part of EV100, committing to switch over 5 million vehicles to electric by the end of the decade. But this is a pivotal year for climate action and pockets of leadership are not enough. We need to use COP26 as a moment to bring everyone together to rapidly accelerate action and deliver a real breakthrough in clean road transport.”

Nigel Topping, COP26 High Level Champion and Gonzalo Muñoz, COP25 High Level Champion said: “We must reach tipping points in every sector of the global economy, and road transportation is well on its way. RouteZero is the first global initiative designed to actively support the Race to Zero ‘Breakthroughs’ launched earlier this year, and we invite other sectoral efforts to build on this pioneering platform to accelerate the race to zero emissions vehicles.”

Monica Araya, “Drive Electric” Campaigner and RouteZero partner, said: “In the next five years we can deliver a breakthrough in road transportation in leading markets. RouteZero will show that a faster uptake of zero emission vehicles is feasible. By showcasing the frontrunners, we hope to inspire many others, especially in emerging economies, where some are already leapfrogging from internal combustion engines to zero-emission vehicles, especially in public transportation.”

Image: Shutterstock

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