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By 2040, GM plans to achieve carbon neutrality in global products, operations

Mary Barra - EV Day
Posted at 12:17 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 12:17:35-05

DETROIT, Mich. — General Motors announced Thursday that it plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040.

The company says it is committed to setting science-based targets to achieve carbon neutrality.

“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener, and better world,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman, and CEO, in a press release. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”

In addition to GM’s carbon goals, the company worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.

GM says its focus will be 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, which will all be needed to meet these ambitious goals.

“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," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp in a press release. "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.”

To reach its goals, GM plans to decarbonize its portfolio by transitioning to battery electric vehicles or other zero-emissions vehicle technology, sourcing renewable energy, and leveraging minimal offsets or credits.

GM will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade and 40 percent of the company’s U.S. models offered will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025.

GM is investing $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next five years – up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than half of GM’s capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs. And in the coming years, GM plans to offer an EV for every customer, from crossovers and SUVs to trucks and sedans.

The company will also continue to increase the fuel efficiency of its traditional internal combustion vehicles in accordance with regional fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations.

Some of these initiatives include fuel economy improvement technologies, such as Stop/Start, aerodynamic efficiency enhancements, downsized boosted engines, more efficient transmissions, and other vehicle improvements, including mass reduction and lower rolling resistance tires.

To address emissions from its own operations, GM will source 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S. sites by 2030 and global sites by 2035, which represents a five-year acceleration of the company’s previously announced global goal.

On Thursday, GM became the 10th largest offtaker of renewable energy in the world, and in 2020, the company received a 2020 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To account for the expected remaining carbon emissions, GM expects to invest in carbon credits or offsets. The company will assess credit and offset solutions in the coming years as the most efficient, equitable, and inclusive ideas mature.

The company recognizes that offsets must be used sparingly and should reflect a holistic view of mitigating the effects of climate change and helping people thrive around the world.

GM has worked with utilities and developers to support investments in renewable energy found in and around communities that have GM facilities via power purchase agreements and green tariffs.

The company is also working with EVgo to triple the size of the nation’s largest public fast-charging network by adding more than 2,700 new fast chargers by the end of 2025, a move set to help accelerate widespread electric vehicle adoption.

The new fast chargers will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. GM believes that the energy sector is well on its way to a decarbonized grid and that an all-electric future will be supported by renewable infrastructure and technology.

This story was first published by WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan.