Britain eyes 100% zero-emission car sales by 2040

Britain says more than 20 countries have agreed to its proposal to limit new auto sales to those of electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Britain, the chair of the COP26 UN climate conference, published the proposal on Wednesday as a goal for the auto industry to curb the rise in global average temperatures.

Under the initiative, sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines, such as gasoline-fueled vehicles and hybrids, would be ended in major car markets by 2035 and globally by 2040, in a shift toward electric and fuel-cell vehicles.

Canada, Sweden, Chile and Cambodia are among the countries that agreed to the proposal. Some major automakers, including General Motors, Ford and Volvo, also agreed.

But Japan, the United States, Germany, France and China -- all major bases for auto production -- say they will not take part in the initiative.

Sources say Britain tried to persuade the countries to join in. But they said it would be unrealistic to set such an early target for completing a shift toward zero-emission vehicles.