Daimler AG, which owns Mercedez-Benz, has now set a very ambitious goal than any other automobile maker on the planet by promising that they will have completely carbon neutral cars by 2039.
The German company announced that they will make more than half their vehicles by then, carbon-neutral. They will have zero emission cars, vans, buses and trucks. This is the most advanced timeline for the company since their slashing of emissions, a full decade ahead of Volkswagen Group. VW also promised in March that they will launch 70 new electric vehicles by 2028 and become fully carbon neutral by 2050.
Daimler said in a press release that to them, The Paris Agreement is more than an obligation. They have conviction too and will do their part to curb climate change. The details given were few and as we found out, what they are doing is slower than what scientists say is needed to keep our warming under 1.5 degree celcius, which is what the Paris Agreement set.
This only serves to show how self-policing by corporations and continued memberships with trade associations that lobbied Trump to reverse Obama’s fuel efficiency rules, can be dangerous. The announcement was timed to coincide with the rolling out of their Mercedes Benz EQC, an all-electric sports utility vehicle. They said their German production lines are set to be powered by wind turbines and use renewable energy on all its European factories by 2022.
The plan for the next 20 years is to phase out combustion engine cars. If every company does this, they will have slashed out 15% of emissions. This act is most likely just a response to a market that is demanding electric vehicles. They made $8.5 billion selling trucks last year alone in profits. This timeline did not include trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. They were also not willing to give an interview.
A twenty-year shift timeline seems impressive, and for a corporation it is, but 2039 is a slow timeline, given what we need to do to make sure that we can save our planet from dire consequences. The timeline fails to meet the 11 years’ timeline set by the UN last year to reduce global emissions by 45%. The devil is usually in the details.
Daimler’s subsidiary companies are part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers and the National Automobile Dealers Association who were victorious when Trump axed fuel efficiency rules, which would have slashed oil use by 12 million barrels and halved the tailpipe emissions.
Daimler said that they are gunning for carbon neutrality and not specificity when it comes to reducing emissions overall. This is an open door for fruitless attempts to offset gases instead of eliminating them. Remember Bush, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, when they vowed to plant trees in the Amazon to combat emissions? Years later, those trees were cut down.
Becker, from Daimler said that if you depend on a forest to become carbon neutral, it is not guaranteed, but if you slash emissions, it works. Hopefully it does.