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Wed May 15, 2019, 06:22 AM

2039, 2050, Whatever: "Ambitious" Corporate Climate Timelines That Aren't

Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler AG has set the most ambitious target of any major automaker to cut its planet-warming emissions, promising a fully carbon-neutral fleet of passenger cars by 2039. The German company said Monday that electric vehicles will make up more than half its total car sales by 2030, and that it’s working to roll out lines of zero-emissions trucks, vans, and buses.

The announcement marks the most aggressive timeline any carmaker has yet set to slash its emissions, 11 years ahead of Volkswagen Group, which vowed in March to launch 70 new electric vehicles by 2028 and become fully carbon neutral by 2050. “To us the Paris Agreement is more than an obligation—it’s a conviction,” Daimler said in a press release, referring to the 2015 climate accords. “And we have set a clear course to help prevent climate change.”

Yet the automaker gave few details. And while its new voluntary targets are unprecedented, the timeline remains far slower than what scientists say is needed to keep planetary warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the target set by the Paris Agreement. That misalignment highlights the limitations of corporate self-policing, a reality underscored by Daimler’s continued membership in trade associations that lobbied the Trump administration to reverse Obama-era fuel efficiency rules.

Daimler timed its announcement to the rollout of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, its new all-electric sports utility vehicle. The company said wind turbines will power its German production lines for both the vehicle and the batteries that power it, and promised to use renewable electricity at all its European factories by 2022. It plans to phase out sales of combustion-engine cars over the next 20 years, which is bound to make a bigger impact, as emissions from automobiles make up 15 percent of human-caused greenhouse gases. But it’s largely a response to growing demand for electric vehicles, particularly in China, the world’s largest auto market. And trucks make up the bulk of Daimler’s business, which generated $8.5 billion in profit alone last year. The 2039 timeline announced Monday excluded trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.

Ed. - Emphasis added.



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