Glasgow climate summit: agreement on more clean heavy-duty vehicles

Fifteen countries and several transport sector companies spread across four continents are embarking on a drive for clean heavy-duty transport. Today at the climate summit in Glasgow they signed an agreement that aims for all new heavy goods vehicles and buses in their countries to be zero emission from 2040. The agreement is an initiative of the Netherlands. Because the lifespan of heavy-duty vehicles is generally around 10 years, the agreement is a positive step towards emission-free fleets around the world by 2050.

Clean transport cuts emissions

Transport is a major sector in the Netherlands, providing jobs and income. And the sector is increasingly green: Dutch companies excel in building zero emission buses and trucks. Yet heavy-duty transport is still a major source of air pollution, accounting for over a third of road traffic carbon emissions globally and producing many toxic gases that people breathe in directly. Transport sector emissions worldwide are not yet in line with the Paris Agreement goals.


Solutions important to the Netherlands

Electric and hydrogen-powered trucks and buses provide a solution to the problem. They are quiet and have zero emissions, but are currently still expensive. Many transport companies cannot afford them, and many manufacturers are still hesitant about mass producing clean heavy-duty vehicles.

The Netherlands wants to accelerate efforts in this field. The Dutch government provides grants for businesses wanting to purchase emission-free delivery vans, and a similar scheme is soon to be introduced for heavy goods vehicles. However, it is important that customers have a wide choice of vehicles. Since lorry and bus manufacturers are located around the world, international cooperation is essential.

State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Steven van Weyenberg: ‘This agreement is a great start. The Netherlands is ambitious. In our National Climate Agreement, we’ve already pledged to make all road traffic clean by 2050. It’s important to work together with other countries to ensure that the market develops more quickly. So I call on other countries to join us.’

In addition to the Netherlands, the heavy-duty vehicles agreement has also been signed by Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Wales.

Working together

The fifteen countries are going to create policy that will help achieve the agreed goals. They will not only work together and exchange knowledge but also meet every year to report on the progress being made. In addition to countries, various states, transport companies and heavy goods vehicle manufacturers are involved, including California, DHL, Heineken, Scania and BYD.

The logic behind the agreement is simple. If the heavy-duty vehicles fleet is to be zero emission by 2050, all new trucks and buses purchased must be clean from 2040. After all, they have a lifespan of approximately 10 years. And to accommodate the moments when businesses are most likely to replace their fleet, the goal is for 30% of the new heavy-duty vehicles market to be zero emission by 2030.


Charging stations

To underscore the importance of good charging stations, the Netherlands and California are hosting a separate session on charging stations at the climate summit today. After all, clean cars, buses and goods vehicles cannot operate without proper charging infrastructure.

More information about the agreement and a full list of signing countries and supporting parties: