‘Current CO2 reduction plans will increase emissions in transport: an increase of 16 percent in 2050’

‘Current CO2 reduction plans will increase emissions in transport: an increase of 16 percent in 2050’

Emissions from the global mobility sector will increase by 16 percent by 2050, even if governments and companies implement the current CO2 reduction plans. The International Transport Forum (ITF) will announce this today. However, with the right policy, co2 emissions from transport can be reduced by almost 70% by 2050. The ITF makes six recommendations.

Since the corona pandemic, there has been considerably less traffic on the road, resulting in less greenhouse gases being released. But what does traffic look like after the recovery from the pandemic? According to the ITF, this is the time to make the mobility sector more sustainable. “Now that we are leaving the pandemic behind, we should not strive for the same transport sector as before the crisis. The sector needs to take a new form, contributing to protecting the climate,” Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General, said in a press conference.

With the current plans and the policy of governments to reduce CO2 emissions from transport, transport emissions increase by 16 percent, even if all plans and objectives are met. The number of transport movements will also increase sharply: transport activity is expected to double in 2050 compared to 2015.

CO2 emissions in cities can be reduced by 80 percent

Traffic in the city provides 40 percent of all CO2 emissions in the mobility sector. Three-quarters of all emissions in the city come from passenger cars. If countries stick to their current policy, the number of kilometres with passenger cars will increase two to three times by 2050. With an ambitious policy, cities can reduce CO2 emissions from transport by 80 percent by 2050.

In regional transport, such as by train, bus or long-distance journeys by car and plane, greenhouse gas emissions can be halved under stricter policies. However, according to the ITF, it is much more difficult to make long-distance journeys by car or aircraft more sustainable. New technologies in the field of fuel must contribute to this. In addition, a focus on improving accessibility will help to make mobility more efficient and therefore less polluting.

Six recommendations for making mobility more sustainable

The ITF makes six recommendations for governments to help them move towards a more sustainable mobility sector, making the agreements in the Paris climate agreement ‘more visible’. First of all, the ITF states that the recovery plans of the pandemic must take into account the fight against climate change. “It provides a unique opportunity to combine economic developments with changing mobility behaviors and upscaling of low-carbon technologies,” the press release reads.

In addition, governments need to implement much more ambitious policies that do not increase CO2 emissions, but reduce them. In doing so, governments should apply different strategies to different transport sectors. Not all strategies to avoid, shift and reduce CO2 are similarly applicable in the sector.

Technological progress is crucial

The ITF also recommends stimulating innovation and technological developments. Technological progress is crucial to effectively free up transport, especially in areas that otherwise become difficult to decarbonise, such as aviation and long-distance freight transport.

The focus of the policy should be shifted from ‘increasing mobility’ to ‘improving accessibility’. This allows faster work to be done on sustainable development and human well-being. Greater capacity is often associated in the transport world with better accessibility, but increasing travel does not mean that citizens have easier access to where to go.

Finally, the ITF recommends intensifying cooperation between transport sectors, public and private organisations. “Decarbonise transport is inextricably linked to developments in other sectors. Sustainable mobility is only possible if we work together,” said Secretary-General Tae Kim.

Subsidies for sustainable solutions in the Netherlands

The government announced today that it will make 150 million euros available to stimulate research into clean and smart mobility. Companies and knowledge institutions in the automotive, aviation and maritime sectors can make use of additional support focused on research and innovation in the mobility sector.

As a result of declining turnover during the corona crisis, investments in research and development in these sectors are under pressure. “With targeted financial support, the mobility sector can still start developing new, smart and sustainable solutions during the corona crisis. This not only contributes to the competitiveness of the Netherlands, but also to economic recovery in the long term”, says Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate.

The scheme aims to stimulate cooperation between SMEs, large companies and knowledge institutions in the mobility sector. Investments in research and development are of great importance for the capacity for innovation and make an important contribution to the sustainability challenge of the sector.

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