15 Dec 18

Electromobility to save the world

Over the past two weeks world leaders, businesses and NGOs have gathered in Poland to discuss global action against climate change during the COP24. Here is what this means for the mobility sector. 

The most important and influential decision regarding the transport sector during the COP24 is the Electromobility Declaration published by host country Poland, together with the UK, entitled ‘Driving Change Together – Katowice Partnership for Electromobility’.

Half the world

The declaration has already received support from over 40 countries from five continents, covering nearly half the world’s population, from both developing countries (Indonesia, China, Egpte, India) and developed countries (Germany, Japan, Canada).

Of note is that the participating countries include both the leading countries in the automotive industry (such as Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK), and the leading countries in the future automotive market (such as India, Indonesia and Mexico).

Additionally, 1,500 cities and regions and 1,200 companies also signed, as did the International Energy Agency and the World Bank. 

Measures and Money

The declaration aims to develop electric transport by bringing together countries, regions, cities and institutions, NGOs and companies involved in the development of electromobility. 

International cooperation and exchanging experiences are the only way towards electromobilitiy according to the Partnership. Therefore, their aim is to assist research and development of technologies related to electromoblity, building the necessary infrastructure and creating incentive systems for EV buyers, among other strategies.

No measures without money, so the World Bank and Poland created a new fund for electromobility as well, within the framework of the Mobility and Logistics Trust Fund (Fundusz Powierniczy Mobilności I Logistyki).


The participants of the electromobility side event at the COP24 pointed to the political momentum of the COP24 to speed up the transition towards electric mobility, so transport will no longer be the elephant in the room when it comes to climate change talks. 

This momentum is confirmed by various carmakers who are intending to lower or even stop production of ICEs and electrify their offer; while many companies have earlier showed their willingness to lower their transportation emissions by joining alliances such as EV100 or Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, such as LeasePlan [read how LeasePlan will get convert its fleet entirely by 2030 here].  

Big Oil and Big Coal

Nevertheless, two remarks have to be made. One, the real sustainability and low emission rate of electric mobility will depend on the electricity matrix of each country. However, the same climate conference demonstrated how Big Oil and Big Coal companies are not giving in. Besides the side pro-coal event of the US, host country Poland, for instance, still has the highest dependency on coal-powered electricity of Europe and openly said it is not intending to change that. At the same time, petroleum-driven economies such as Russia and Kuweit succeeded in reducing the climate report of the IPCC to a footnote of the entire conference. Yet, this is the essence of the current discussion: limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees in order to keep the planet liveable. 

As we wrote before, transportation can have a huge impact on keeping this temperature at a liveable level, and therefore an initiative as the Electromobility Declaration might be crucial. 

What is next?

As from now on, the partners of the Electromobolity Declaration will gather at their annual Electromobility Forum, the first of which will take place in Poland in the autumn of 2019. The end goal: to develop electromobility around the world.

Further on, the COP24 may have more implications for transport as well, as part of broader climate ambitions such as renewable energy goals, alternative fuel goals, and lower emission goals. During the COP24 the various parties discussed not only how to implement the Paris Agreement in practice, but also how to increase the ambitions, which might affect the transportation sector as well. This last part has to be continued over the year to come, since by 2020 all involved countries will have to come up with the concrete measures they will take and the (increased) ambitions they will set. 

At the moment the EU is showing leadership, together with China, and even the USA is still in the process of pulling out of the Agreement, they are still in at this time – until shortly after the new presidential elections – and American cities and states are stepping up to fulfil the climate change ambitions regardless of President Trump. So, the entire world well end up being affected by the decisions made at the COP24, and transportation is a crucial part of it.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen