MAN Truck & Bus
Europe aims to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Germany has set itself an even more ambitious target: greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved here as soon as 2045. These stipulations are respectively anchored in a European and a German climate protection law. And they are the result of a global policy process that started in the early 1990s.
Even then it was already known that climate change poses a threat to people and nature around the world. The member states of the United Nations agreed to hold an annual conference to jointly counter these challenges by setting international targets and determining climate protection measures. The first ever COP – the abbreviation stands for conference of parties – was held in Berlin in 1995. It has been held every year since, only interrupted in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.
Not all of these meetings ended in success. Controversial aspects were often in the foreground, for instance between representatives of industrialised and developing countries, which meant it was impossible to reach agreement on common steps and targets. Even agreements that were reached have by no means always been implemented. And individual issues, such as temporary withdrawal of the USA from the climate protection process in 2019, caused setbacks and delays. Yet overall the process has gained considerable momentum in recent years and has become more binding for the participating states. This is to a large extent because the consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored.
The most significant milestone to date is the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted in 2015. For the first time, this obliged all 197 signatories to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era. Every effort should be pursued to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees. Achieving this target requires global climate-neutrality to prevail by the middle of the century. This means that the member states must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and as much as is possible.
At an EU level, the 2019 Paris Agreement led to the so-called European Green Deal. This programme maps the path that the confederation has to follow to become climate-neutral by 2050. It also includes important aspects, such as how the transformation to an economy without greenhouse gases can be designed in a socially acceptable and economically viable manner.
This Green Deal forms the basis for the European Climate Law, which came into force in 2021. It sets out the long-term roadmap by which the EU seeks to achieve climate-neutrality in all policy spheres by 2050. The specific steps required to achieve the first milestone – a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – is to be regulated in the associated “Fit for 55” programme of measures.
The climate protection law already in force in Germany was tightened in 2021. This enables the Federal Republic to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement and the new EU stipulations. The most significant key points in the amendment are that German greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 65 per cent before 2030 compared to 1990 values. And that climate-neutrality is now to be reached as early as 2045 rather than 2050 as stipulated in the previous law. Annual reduction targets have already been set for each individual sector up to 2030, and annual reduction targets have been defined across all sectors for the period up to 2040.
„This is to be achieved, among other things, with clean fuels, the expansion of the charging infrastructure for electromobility and the establishment of an EU emissions trading system for the transport sector.“
The fact that the national and international climate targets directly affect the transport sector is obvious. It is ultimately responsible for almost a quarter of all CO2 emissions within the EU. Annual reduction targets have already been set for each individual sector up to 2030, and annual reduction targets have been defined across all sectors for the period up to 2040.This is to be achieved, among other things, with clean fuels, the expansion of the charging infrastructure for electromobility and the establishment of an EU emissions trading system for the transport sector.
This means that commercial vehicle manufacturers must design their sourcing and production processes to be climate-neutral. And above all to also develop products that do not cause climate-damaging emissions. MAN is already well advanced on this path. “Fully-electric vehicles like our MAN Lion’s City E urban bus and our MAN eTGE van are a pointer towards the mobility of the future”, says Andreas Tostmann, CEO at MAN. “And we intend to commence series production of e-trucks in the foreseeable future.” His strategy has clearly focused MAN on decarbonisation and firmly anchored sustainability within the company. The corporate focus is also on assisting its customers to establish CO2-neutral fleets, minimising greenhouse gas emissions from its own plants and furthermore ensuring that suppliers are also active in climate protection and sustainability. MAN does not consider this as merely meeting its statutory requirements, but rather as its fundamental responsibility. “Those who don’t seriously address the topic of sustainability won’t be able to compete in the future”, is how Andreas Tostmann succinctly puts it.