LeasePlan has called on business leaders to take action on climate change and switch to electric fleets in the small window left to prevent the worst possible outcomes for the planet.

The company released a white paper in the leadup to COP26, the climate summit set to take place in Glasgow in November.

According to the latest climate science, the world needs to cut carbon emissions by 45% before 2030. However, UN analysis shows emissions could actually rise by 16%, leading to a temperature increase of 2.7°C that could cause irreversible damage to life on Earth.

Tex Gunning, chief executive of LeasePlan, said: “Corporate leaders should take full responsibility to fight climate change, and switching to an electric fleet is one of easiest and most effective ways to make an impact.

“If we can get a decent plan in place by the time COP26 starts in November, we will have a real chance to eliminate emissions from road transport and play our part in limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C. We have a small window of time to prevent the worst effects of climate change, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren not to waste this opportunity.”

The report found that six out of 10 cars purchased Europe are company cars, with petrol and diesel vehicles still accounting for 96% of new car registrations. This means that although corporate fleets are one of the most significant contributors to carbon emissions, they also have the potential to drastically lower emissions by switching to electric vehicles (EVs). The impact of EV adoption can already be measured on a global scale. Since 2000, global transport emissions had been rising by 1.9% per year; but in 2019, they increased by less than 0.5%.

LeasePlan has also committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, having previously urged governments to invest in better charging infrastructure. The company is also a founding partner of The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, launched around the UN General Assembly in 2017 to promote EV uptake among companies.