Recognizing that transportation has the highest growth in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of any industrial sector, transport representatives at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) presented 10 initiatives today that aim to reduce these emissions and build more sustainable transport systems.
Among the events was the launch of the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change & Call to Action. Endorsed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency, as well as Tesla Motors and Michelin Nissan-Renault, it reportedly builds on commitments from companies, cities, States and associations that have undertaken decisive efforts towards sustainable transport electrification.
“Of course, I think the sector of transport is one of the most important to succeed in fighting climate,” Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy told the UN News Service.
“So I announced three concrete initiatives,” she explained. “First, an open bid about less expensive electric cars – less than 7,000 dollars [per car]; second, an initiative for towns to build a plan of mobility inside cities; and third, roads with positive energy which [would see thruways] covered with panel and would solve the problem between agriculture areas and road areas.”
With energy-related CO2 emissions expected to jump from one quarter of total energy-related emissions today to one-third by 2050, the actors that are part of the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) are underlining that significant changes can be made in transport to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
The LPAA was launched one year ago at the the previous UN climate change conference in Peru, and aims to strength climate action beyond COP21.
The effort comes as demand for public and freight transport is projected to grow rapidly, especially in emerging and developing countries. Yet, projections reveal a 50 per cent reduction of transport CO2 emissions compared to a “transport-as-usual” scenario can be achieved by 2050, without hampering sustainable economic growth.
Moreover, according to the International Energy Agency, if global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees or less, at least 20 per cent of all road vehicles (cars, two and three-wheelers, trucks, buses and others) must be electric-powered by 2030, in conjunction with the low-carbon production of electricity and hydrogen.
Other announcements today at COP21, which centered around the themes of ‘Transport’ and ‘Building,’ included new efforts to stabilize emissions from the aviation industry by 2020. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said it has received 74 action plans to advance the implementation of mitigation measures by States, which accounts for 80.6 per cent of global CO2 emissions from international flight.