Global transport accounts for roughly 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and it is the number one source of emissions in the US and Europe. If we don’t change course, these emissions are on track to rise to 10 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2050. Pollution from internal combustion engines directly contributes to an annual toll of hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, millions of cases of childhood asthma, and has the severest impact on low-income and marginalized communities. And while technological advances in the electric vehicle (EV) sector are encouraging and smart government policies are building momentum with consumers, the market faces ongoing barriers and powerful opposition. Without action, as many as 70% to 90% of polluting vehicles will still be on the road in 2050.
Drive Electric is the new name of a global campaign to retire the polluting internal combustion engine and accelerate the transition to 100% clean road transportation. Convened by ClimateWorks Foundation, the Drive Electric campaign is bringing together a global coalition of dozens of climate, research, and civil society organizations to revolutionize road transport in time to avoid the worst of the climate and health impacts we face without intervention. Over the next five years, they will mobilize governments, businesses, and civil society to supercharge the transition to electric transportation; not just for cars but all road transport, including two and three-wheelers, trucks, and buses. Accelerating this shift away from fossil fuels by 10-20 years will help us avert over 160 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions, while creating more clean jobs, saving lives, and building a more equitable and accessible transport future.
Building on technological advances already made, and the expertise of the world’s most respected climate organizations, Drive Electric will mobilize a highly coordinated, 5-year push for accelerated action. Their proven strategy includes (1) Advancing smart government policies, including incentives and regulations that grow the EV market. (2) Engaging business leaders, including vehicle manufacturers, utilities, fleets, and investors, to increase the production and sale of EVs, driving greater product availability and affordability. (3) Mobilizing diverse people-powered coalitions representing health, environment, labor, consumers, business, and frontline communities to come together and demand a cleaner transportation future. Drive Electric has a global reach with an additional focus on the United States, the European Union, China, and India -- four key markets that comprise the majority of global vehicle demand. They will drive market acceleration in all these regions by engaging governments and companies representing more than 50% of global transport energy demand by 2026.
With expertise in climate science, strategic philanthropy, public policy, and social and economic development, ClimateWorks brings a range of skills that meet the ambitious scale of the Drive Electric campaign goals. Acting as secretariat, they have convened a powerful coalition of over 70 partners, including the Energy Foundation, Energy Foundation China, European Climate Foundation, and the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation's Electric Mobility Initiative. This group has already supported historic EV policy wins such as strengthening vehicle pollution standards and incentives in the US and Europe, commitments to EV buses in 36 global cities, EV actions in India and China, and support for over 100 companies committed to go all-electric before the end of this decade. The ability to rapidly share and replicate strategies and successes around the world also provides a highly effective model for driving systems change across different sectors and other climate challenges.
Anthony is the Senior Director of the ClimateWorks Transportation Program. He has over 20 years of experience working on clean energy and transportation technologies and policies. He launched his career at Ford, where he worked as an engineer improving emissions and fuel economy and on early electric vehicle development. Anthony later served as the Senior Policy Advisor to the chair of the California Air Resources Board, a commissioner of the California Energy Commission, and a Deputy Secretary of the California EPA, where he helped craft and implement the state’s landmark climate policies.
Monica is ClimateWorks Distinguished Fellow: Global EV advisor, writer, speaker, and thought-leader with decades of EV campaign experience. She has guided mobility, climate, and energy strategies across Latin America, the US, and Europe, championing voices from the global south and ensuring that transportation systems create meaningful improvements in people’s lives.
When President Biden announced his multitrillion-dollar jobs plan in March, it included nearly $175 billion in spending to encourage Americans to buy electric vehicles. The money would help ensure “that these vehicles are affordable for all families and manufactured by workers with good jobs,” the White House wrote at the time.
Frontline communities — those impacted first and worst by climate change — are comprised of majority Black and brown populations and are far more likely to be harmed by extreme weather events due to generations of institutional inequities and disinvestment.
People around the world are demanding clean air -- and cities are starting to respond, says electrification advocate Monica Araya. She takes us on a world tour of urban areas that are working to fully electrify their transportation systems over the next decade, shifting to emission-free motorcycles, cars, buses, ferries and beyond. See what a future without the internal combustion engine could look like -- and what it will take to get there.