In addition to GM’s carbon goals, the company is developing plans for an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035
General Motors (GM) has announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality in its global products and operations by 2040.
The move by the US’s largest automaker comes as pressure increases on companies and governments to reduce their reliance on high-polluting fossil fuels in a bid to help clean up the economy.
GM has also signed up to the Business Ambition Pledge for 1.5⁰C – an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders.
GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra said: “GM is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world.
“We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”
General Motors to focus on zero-emissions vehicles to reach carbon neutrality pledge
In addition to GM’s carbon goals, the company worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.
The company claims its focus will be on offering zero-emissions vehicles across a range of price points and working with all stakeholders, including EDF, to “build out the necessary charging infrastructure” and “promote consumer acceptance while maintaining high-quality jobs”.
EDF president Fred Krupp said: “With this extraordinary step forward, GM is making it crystal clear that taking action to eliminate pollution from all new light-duty vehicles by 2035 is an essential element of any automaker’s business plan.
“EDF and GM have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America — one where serious collaboration to achieve transportation electrification, science-based climate progress and equitably shared economic opportunity can move our nation forward.”
How will General Motors reach carbon neutrality?
To reach its goals, GM plans to decarbonise its portfolio by transitioning to battery electric vehicles or other zero-emissions vehicle technology, sourcing renewable energy and leveraging minimal offsets or credits.
It will offer 30 all-electric models globally by 2025 and 40% of the company’s US models offered will be battery electric vehicles by the middle of the decade. GM is investing $27bn in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next five years – up from the $20bn planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To address emissions from its own operations, the automaker said it will source 100% renewable energy to power its US sites by 2030 and globally by 2035, which represents a five-year acceleration of the company’s previously announced global goal.
To account for the expected remaining carbon emissions, it expects to “invest in carbon credits or offsets”. The company said it will assess credit and offset solutions in the coming years as the “most efficient, equitable and inclusive ideas mature”.
GM claims it is implementing plans today to reduce the impact associated with its supply chain while “supporting grids and utilities to power electric vehicles with renewable energy”.
While electric vehicles themselves do not emit tailpipe emissions, the firm believes it is “critical” that they be charged with electricity generated from renewable sources like wind and solar.
It said it is also working with charging company EVgo to triple the size of the US’s largest public fast-charging network by adding more than 2,700 renewable energy-powered fast chargers by the end of 2025 – a move GM claims is “set to help accelerate widespread electric vehicle adoption”.