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United Nations urges all developed countries to stop making combustion cars by 2035

The end of the manufacture of combustion cars is beginning to be clearly seen. Several countries have set specific dates for themselves to stop registering new vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel or other fossil fuels. But, for the first time, the United Nations (UN) has proposed a common goal this Thursday: that developed countries stop producing combustion vehicles in 2035. Developing countries would have a margin of up to 2040.

This proposal was launched by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, at the inauguration of a conference on sustainable transport held by the United Nations in Beijing, the Chinese capital. Guterres has framed this petition on the need to decarbonize transport in order to comply with the commitments to fight climate change. The objective of the Paris Agreement is that the increase in the global average temperature with respect to pre-industrial levels remains between 1.5 and 2 degrees. But plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions that the nations of the world now have lead to a warming of about 3 degrees. That is why “more ambitious and credible targets” are also needed in the transport sector, responsible for around 20% of global greenhouse emissions because the vast majority of trips are made thanks to combustion engines.

“Governments should encourage clean transport options, including through standards and taxes, and impose more regulation strict infrastructures and sales ”, asked Guterres. The UN Secretary General has also stressed that “transport policies that promote” bicycles and pedestrians in urban areas in developed countries can help fight climate change and pollution and improve health.

Regarding maritime transport, a sector that, together with international aviation, is being left out of the emission reduction plans that countries are presenting, Guterres has urged that all trips be “zero emissions” on 2050. Furthermore, “companies must start using sustainable aviation fuels now, in order to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 65% to 2050 ″, said the UN Secretary General.

Climate Summit

The proposal launched this Thursday by The UN fits in with the diplomatic efforts being made by the UK to achieve that at the climate summit to be held during the first two weeks of November in Glasgow. The objective is to set a specific timetable for the end of combustion car sales and for the greatest number of countries to commit to respecting it.

At the moment, a dozen European countries have officially established the end of combustion engines, according to the latest tally by the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT). Norway, the most advanced country in this field, will ban new registrations of combustion cars and vans from 2025. Spain, for its part, establishes 2040 in its climate change law as the last year in which combustion car registrations will be allowed.

Last July the European Commission launched its proposal for a climate plan for this decade. And that program involves vetoing in 2035 new cars and vans that emit carbon dioxide, which in practice means the end of the registration of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and hybrids.

The UN now aligns itself with the Commission’s proposal. But the Brussels plan is still that, a proposal. Now a negotiation must be opened with the governments of the 27 EU member countries, and some States are not convinced of setting that end of combustion cars for 2035 for fear of damaging their industries.

“Electrifying road transport is not only the best way to decarbonize the sector that contributes the most to climate change, but it is also a great industrial opportunity for Spain and Europe to advance in a green, fair and sustainable economic recovery ”, values ​​Carlos Rico, mobility expert from the Transport and Environment association (T&E). “The transformation towards sustainable mobility will improve our economy, environment, health and quality of life,” adds this specialist, who is hopeful that the European recovery plan will help decarbonize road transport thanks to the promotion of electric vehicles The aim is to find public funds.

Outside of Europe, very few countries have approved specific calendars. Canada has also assumed 2035 as a ceiling and Singapore 2030, according to ICCT data. They are joined by the States of California and New York, which have also put on the table that year.

For Mónica Araya, an expert in electric mobility and one of the advisers of the climate summit of Glasgow, “The Secretary General’s speech is courageous and it marks a milestone.” In his opinion, “the era of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end and this cannot be a taboo”. “Those of us who advocate for clean transportation know that the next five years will be vital for electrification and we are working to accelerate price parity between polluting and zero-emission models. If we succeed, this will happen towards 2026 and it will be vital to make the transition more accessible and global ”, he adds.

The request made by the first time by Guterres this Thursday has no legal force whatsoever. But it does suppose a concrete goal to look to. Something similar to what has happened with coal; The UN has been urging developed countries for years to phase out coal for power generation in 2030 – the rest should do so in 2040 – . It is also expected that at the Glasgow summit there will be announcements of the abandonment of coal, another of the great sources of greenhouse emissions in the world.

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