It could have been such a great start: but the terrorist attacks in Paris blocked the large (and positive) taxi demonstration planned for the COP21 event in December last year. Not against Uber this time, but for the environment. Yesterday, April 14, almost all of the 14 taxi companies who launched the climate initiative Taxis4SmartCities just before last years’ UN Conference on Climate Change – COP21), put their signatures on the document sealing their cooperation in a festive fresh start. Originally planned to coincide with COP21 in Paris, and with more visible activities, the terrorist attacks and the authorities reduced the start then from a large taxi demo to a press release and a very visible presence of Taxi Bleus’ CEO Yann Ricordel, the founding father of this initiative, at COP21. Yesterday representatives from taxi companies of 10 European countries held their first working meeting at the Maison des Polytechniciens and launched the initiative at a busy press conference. And they also posed in front of the somewhat ubiquitous Tesla taxis with G7 showing it’s new and green logo on a classy black car.
Yann Ricordel, who again invited his European colleagues to (re)join his climate initiative, was happy to announce that “the taxi sector is ready to be a pioneer in the reduction of greenhouse gases. We are a modern, innovative and also very ambitious trade and we would like to see tomorrow’s taxi as an environmentally friendly form of transportation.” And he clearly sees a leading role for the industry.
“Cities all around the world aim at reducing CO2 pollution and this cannot be done without the taxi industry, which has its workplace in the city centre. We are happy to work with our local governments and are also aiming at sharing our findings with them as our taxi initiative takes shape.”
In joining Taxis4SmartCities the participants (80.000 taxis, 14 launching companies in 11 countries – Europe and Canada) aim at two different horizons: 2020 and 2030. Towards 2020 33% to 50% of new taxi vehicles should produce less than 60 grammes of CO2 per kilometre.
And it is all done through a stepped approach: Those aiming for the initiative’s Bamboo Club commit themselves to having 33% of new vehicles emitting less than 60 grammes of CO2 per km by 2020. Those in the Oak Tree Club aim for 50% of new vehicles emitting 60 grammes of CO2 per km by 2020. And finally the companies in the Sequoia Club commit to the same in 2020 and to having a 100% of new vehicles emitting less than 20 grammes of CO2 per km by 2030. Apart from this the companies will put in place environmentally friendly business and driver training practices.
Sylvie Lemmet from the French Environment Ministry joined Ricordel in underlining the important role transport played during the last climate conference. She was also the one who kept the agendas with the various agreements made by the parties at COP21: “Many initiatives for coalitions have been launched during COP21 and Taxis4SmartCities was one of them. We need these coalitions, this movement to reach our goal of a maximum of 1,5 degree rise in temperature. That means 20% of vehicles need to be electric in 2030. Here in France we support the industry in renewing their fleets and we need to greatly increase the number of charging points in the whole of France. This way we are all working towards reaching the goals for the next COP in Marrakech.” The taxi initiative will definitely find a place on the agenda of the climate pre-summit in Washington in May 2017.
• The taxi climate coalition, representing well over 80.000 cabs, here in front of the House of the Polytechnicians in Paris: Les Taxis Bleus, Paris – Alpha Taxis, Paris – Taxi Berlin – Cabonline, Sweden and Norway – Taxi 31300, Vienna – Radiotaxi 3570, Rome, Taxis G7, Paris – Taxi Centrale Amsterdam – Taxis Bleus, Brussels and the London Taxi Company (not really a taxi company but a supplier of London’s black cabs owned by Geely) signed today. Central Taxi, Scotland – Centrale Taxiphone, Geneve and Téo Taxi/Taxelco, Montreal couldn’t make it to Paris.