Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP – EV Summit 2022 address

Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP – EV Summit 2022 address

by Katie

Speaker 1:

We’re fortunate enough now to have the COP President, the UNFCCC Conference of the party’s 26th president, the honorable Alok Sharma, join us from London, to provide us with his insights on how we can electrify our transport here. You can play that.

Speaker 2:

Ministers, colleagues, friends. Thank you for the invitation to your National Electric Vehicle Summit. Today, is another example of Australia’s renewed commitment to climate action. And whilst I’m joining you virtually today, it was a real pleasure to see so many colleagues in government and business, when I was in Australia last month. It was a fantastic visit. I went to Stirling Park, a nature reserve in Canberra, to see the important work being done, to preserve native trees, to tackle climate change, and biodiversity loss. It was an honor to spend time with the Ngunnawal indigenous elders, who shared their experience of the disproportionate impact of climate change on their communities. And I also heard from both, first responders, and business leaders, who told me that flooding in some areas, which used to be one in a 100 year events, are now happening every 10 years or even every five years.

                Bush fires, heat waves, droughts, and tropical storms, are becoming much more common, too. And communities, businesses, and governments, across Australia are left having to deal with the costs. As we know, climate change does not recognize borders, and across the world, including in Europe, we are regularly now experiencing the impact of global warming as well. So as we all agreed in the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 last November, governments have to act and they have to act, now. And that is why I also met with ministers to discuss your governments plans, to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030. That is a good start. And we spoke about the big push on renewables and climate finance. And I particularly enjoyed being chauffeured, briefly, by Minister Chris Bowen, in his Tesla, no less, to talk about the potential of zero emission vehicles… the reason why we are all here today.

                Road transport currently accounts for 16% of Australia’s emissions and 10% around the world. And as I heard from the Mothers for Clean Air group, who I spoke with in Glasgow, and who I have met this year as well, fossil fuel transport continues to poison the air, particularly affecting children around the world… all the while global car ownership is expected to double in the next 20 years. So if we are to keep 1.5 degrees within reach, and build a cleaner and safer future, we must end new sales of polluting vehicles. And I’m pleased that we are seeing progress. In the UK, for example, we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. By 2035, all new cars and vans will be zero emissions at the tailpipe. And we are backing those commitments with strong standards and the required investment in charging infrastructure, too. COP26 was an important milestone. We launched the Glasgow Breakthrough on road transport, which I was delighted to see Australia endorse.

                And through this agreement, the international community is working together to make zero emission vehicles, the new normal, accessible and affordable in all regions by 2030. And we also launched a zero emissions vehicle declaration, to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans by 2035 in leading markets and 2040 globally. And I want to recognize, and thank, each Australian state and territory, which has signed up to that declaration… The Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. You have joined over 180 signatories, including nearly 100 national and subnational governments, committed to ending the sale of polluting vehicles, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and cleaning up the air that we all breathe. And so I urge more states, more territories, more businesses, and fleet owners in Australia, to come forward and match this ambition… because the direction of travel globally is clear. We are driving to a net zero future.

                And for instance, nearly 20% of the global market is now covered by zero emission vehicle targets, aligned with the Paris temperature goals. So we are driving there in our electric cars. Of course, the work we must do stretches beyond electric vehicles and road transport. So whilst I do want to see the national government committing to all new sales of cars and vans being zero emissions by 2035, it is time to go further. At COP26, our mantra was, “Cash, coal, cars, and trees”, to keep the world to 1.5 degrees. And now, is the time for Australia to turbocharge progress in all of those areas, from reducing your reliance on coal, to investing in renewable energy, and developing grid capacity and energy storage facilities. And know that whilst you do, this is not just about tackling climate change. It is also about creating jobs. It’s about delivering growth and even becoming a green export superpower in green steel, hydrogen and critical minerals. I understand the think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, Australia, estimates that by 2050, green exports could be a $333 billion per annum opportunity.

                So friends, thank you again for stepping up and demonstrating ambition and commitment to lead. And I hope today’s discussion further enhances, what I say, electrifies the scale and pace of your work, as we look ahead to COP27, because together we can deliver the clean future we so desperately need… delivering prosperity without sacrificing the planet. Thank you. And good luck with the rest of the summit.


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