This year’s COP27 meeting in Egypt was interesting to watch from afar. Politicians were prominent, with officials and scientists issuing hand-wringing warnings, and assorted industrialists used the occasion to promote their green credentials through exhibitions and attendance at fringe events.
Curiously though, the big beasts of the automotive world seemed to have decided it wasn’t the right place. Perhaps they have other, more immediate or pressing concerns, but I am surprised that a few have not used the platform to give a high profile to electrification and sustainability strategies.
The IEA estimates that transport as a whole accounts for 38% of end-use carbon emissions, with road transport accounting for the largest share. There is a pretty positive story about how the transport industry – which we all depend on – is dealing with this. Progress in developing zero-emission vehicles and bringing them to market in volume is an obvious highlight.
There are also a host of less obvious sustainability initiatives, of course, along the automotive value chain, from raw materials to manufacturing to retail and end product offering. Occasionally, something emerges from a less obvious source. For example, there are the huge data centers that companies operate these days. As the needs and volumes of data proliferate, the computing power and equipment to meet the growing data processing needs become greater, and so do the energy requirements.
The Volkswagen Group has announced its goal to make its data center operations carbon neutral by 2027. To achieve this goal, the group has expanded its computing capabilities at Green Mountain, a Norwegian operator of CO2 neutral data centers. Relying on Norway with its hydroelectric power, VW can remove a lot of CO2 – it claims annual CO2 savings of 10,000 tonnes. It’s not bad.
The VW Group aims for carbon-neutral data centers by 2027
Volvo Cars appeared to be one of the few car companies at COP27.
Volvo Cars took this opportunity to announce that they are joining Accelerating to Coalition Zerowhich consists of a broad group of stakeholders committed to facilitating and accelerating the transition to zero-emission mobility.
The car company is asking governments for more climate action. It’s not exactly turkeys voting for Christmas, but a cynic might say the Scandinavian brand’s core values fit the COP27 atmosphere better than most car companies. I commend them for wanting to address an elephant in the room.