During the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference, a group of governments, automotive manufacturers and others committed to transition to 100% zero-emission cars and vans by 2040. That commitment came in the form of a declaration shared by the U.K. Department for Transport on Wednesday. Signatories include Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Uber, among others.
The declaration states that the signatories will "work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040." That goal is even sooner — 2035 — in top markets.
The commitment also includes fleet owners and operators, ride-hailing apps and alternative means of transportation offered via shared mobility platforms, which are committing to transitioning their fleets to zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
But it's who's not on the list that may tell an even bigger story. Notably, the United States and China, two of the world's largest polluters, are absent. In automative manufacturing, giants like Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen also weren't listed.
The signatories plan to "work together to overcome strategic, political, and technical barriers, accelerate the production of zero emission vehicles and increase economies of scale, to make the transition faster, lower cost, and easier for everyone," the declaration states.
But whether the declaration will actually move the needle on climate change is debatable. For one thing, it isn't legally binding.