Four international initiatives to support the decarbonisation of the transport sector towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement climate goal

Sunshine on railway

A significant ratchet-up of ambition in transport decarbonisation is needed

The transport sector represents today 23% of all energy-related global emissions and curbing these sectoral emissions is essential to implement global pathways consistent with the “well below 2C” climate goal of the Paris Agreement. The analysis of sectoral transformations implied by current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) shows that transport is one of the sectors where climate action ambition is particularly insufficient in the light of the requirements of mid-century Paris-compatible transformations.

Ambitious transport decarbonisation requires a global alignment of strategies by countries and the private sector

Significant reduction of transport-related emissions while satisfying transport needs (for passengers and goods) requires profound transformations in the provision of mobility and freight services. Identifying these transformations and defining concrete actions for their implementation requires a detailed understanding of the technological, social and economic challenges, opportunities and enabling conditions, at different scales and from different actors’ point of view.

Analyzing sectoral pathways at the national scale allows informing directly the NDC revision process by investigating the profound transformations required by the Paris climate goal and the policy packages adapted to the specific country circumstances.

Complementarily, global-scale sectoral roadmaps and scenarios, translated into concrete actions and assessed against their impact on different aspects of mobility, serve as a guide to the evolution of the sector under collective climate goals.

And extensive engagement with transport stakeholders, business, and experts is a necessary condition for the definition of relevant and implementable emissions objectives and the design of associated strategies.

Several international initiatives support ambitious transport decarbonisation

Several international initiatives have been launched since COP21 to investigate specific aspects related to the decarbonisation of the transport sector, considering different scales of analysis and different primary target audiences:

  • The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project for Transport (DDPP-T), led by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), supports the definition of country-driven decarbonisation pathways for transport, aimed to inform the design of low-emission development strategies and the revision of NDCs;
  • The Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), led by Movin’ On (successor of former “Michelin Challenge Bibendum”) and the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), has developed a sectoral Global Macro-Roadmap as an overarching framework for action on transport and climate change to set the course towards realizing the long-term climate goals agreed in Paris, along eight priority areas,
  • The Decarbonising Transport initiative of the International Transport Forum (ITF) will guide governments towards commonly acceptable pathways to decarbonise the transport sector by gathering, building and disseminating quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of mitigation measures and policies;
  • The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), supports early and ambitious climate action from the private sector through promoting emission reduction target-setting against Paris-compatible decarbonisation pathways. Currently, the SBTi is developing target-setting tools and guidance specifically aimed at companies operating in the transport and logistics sector.

All these initiatives have started to develop their own work programmes and are presenting their progress at COP23, notably during the Transport Day on 11 November 2017.

Scaling-up collaboration between existing initiatives is essential to support actual implementation of ambitious decarbonisation and resilience action

These four international initiatives have their own and independent rationale, but they have also started to join their forces to build on their complementarities and improve their relevance with the objective to deliver policy-relevant insights supporting concrete transport decarbonization. These initiatives are committed to scale-up these collaborations in the next months through joint initiatives where respective expertise can be combined to maximize the relevance of analysis and, through joint engagement activities, the influence on decision-making processes.

About International Transport ForumITF logo

The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 57 member countries. It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes. The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD, yet politically autonomous.

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