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  • Published at 06:04 PM January 02, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:17 PM January 03, 2018
Cleaning up our air
Low-carbon solutions are possibleBIGSTOCK

Now is the time to decarbonise the transport sector

During the Transport Thematic Day of the UN Climate Change Conference COP23, a new Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA) commenced its journey to faster climate action on a global scale.

France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Costa Rica, and the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) launched this alliance to stimulate great political leadership in the climate sector.

This alliance holds the belief that transportation is responsible for large-scale anthropogenic CO2 emission amounting to 15% to 17% of the world’s total CO2 emission. If proper action is not taken for immediate carbon reduction, transport-induced CO2 can grow from 6-7 gigatons to 16-18 gigatons by 2050.

Against such a backdrop, the implementation of Paris Climate Agreement has become a challenging and questionable issue. The leaders of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance expect that coordinated and ambitious climate actions on transport should be taken urgently to deliver proper implementation of the agreement.

To make a systemic transformation in the transport sector, members of TDA are working diligently to strengthen the voice of countries, cities, and companies in their peer groups.

TDA is hoping to make decarbonisation possible in the transportation sector through establishing a forum where front-runners on transport and climate change meet and exchange good practices, as well as common challenges, in order to secure the transition to a net-zero emission sector by 2050.

The time is now

The Paris Agreement created the pathway for the efforts to reduce global carbon emissions. But the transport sector delegates believe that the national climate plans, which are widely known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) created under the Paris Agreement, do not show enough concern in transportation to help the sector deliver its full potential into the agreement. So, TDA believes that now it is up to the transportation sector to set up a carbon-free mobility.

Transportation is responsible for large-scale anthropogenic CO2 emission amounting to 15% to 17% of world’s total CO2 emission

However, COP23 has opened the door for six new voluntary sector initiatives to address specific aspects of transport and climate change. The sectors include: Eco Mobility Alliance, EV 100, below50, Walk 21, Global Strategy for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles, and Urban Mobility Initiative.

The “below50” sector will work with the global market for the development of the world’s most sustainable fuels. “Eco Mobility Alliance” creates a platform for cooperation within the ambitious cities committed to use sustainable transport.

“EV 100” aims to accelerate the transition to electro-mobility, while “Walk 21” sets its target for valuing and delivering more walkable communities.

“Global Strategy for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles” will promote clean energy for the transportation sector, and “Urban Mobility Initiative” will accelerate implementation of sustainable urban transport development and mitigation of climate change.

This is not the first attempt by any alliance to decarbonise the transport sector. On May 2016, the International Transport Forum (ITF) has also launched a global decarbonising transport project for promoting carbon free transport — which was highly appreciated by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The objective of this project is to reduce transport CO2 without sacrificing access and opportunities offered by transport.

Recently, the International Organisation for Public Transport (UITP) has also highlighted the concern for faster climate action and made agreements on fostering sustainable urban mobility.

UITP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNFCCC and the International Union of Railways (UIC) to promote sustainable public transport options, like the initiation of clean shuttle bus services, highlighting the benefits of investing in low-carbon solutions, and creating infrastructure for sustainable public transports.

It is great to see how the public transport sectors communicate with the parties to help the development and implementation of low-carbon solutions with quality public transport.

With these committed organisations promoting the development of sustainable transport, climate experts expect to see a balance between anthropogenic emission and removal of CO2 by the middle of this century.

Labiba Faiaz Bari is a freelance contributor.

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