Transport accounts for around 23% of energy related emissions – a figure that is even higher in auto-dependent states and countries. For example, in California the transport proportion is 37% and since the fossil fuel sector defeated the addition of fossil fuel reduction targets for 2030 in the state’s GHG reduction planning, that is likely to rise. In Washington State, the availability of hydro for electricity means that transportation is a larger percentage of the state’s carbon emissions – 45%.
In 2012 transport was the largest energy consuming sector in 40% of countries worldwide, and in most of the remaining countries, transport is the second largest energy consuming sector. In 2012, nearly two thirds of countries had a transport sector share of total emissions from fuel combustion greater than the global average of 23%, and the share of countries exceeding the global average is increasing over time. This illustrates the key role that the transport sector will need to play in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Much of the discussions on action on climate change are still dominated by energy sector related discussions. SLoCaT feels that this has to change and that following the adoption of the Paris Agreement there is need to ensure that all major sectors, including the transport sector, are more fully included in scenario and policy related discussions.
The average annual growth rate was 2.0% from 1990-2012, making it among the fastest growing sectors of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. Countries which have consistently kept gasoline prices above US$1/liter over the period of 2000 to 2012 (e.g. Japan, Netherlands, Uruguay) show clear reductions in transport emissions growth, and countries with gasoline prices above US$0.7/liter (e.g. many OECD countries) show only a marginal increase in transport emissions growth. However, for countries that have kept gasoline prices artificially low due to fuel subsidies, transport CO2 emissions have grown at a rapid rate during the 2000-2012 period. See Analysis on National Transport Sector Emissions 1990 – 2012 and the GHG methodological note.
Transport stakeholders have come forward with 15 initiatives covering several aspects of transport. Collectively the initiatives presented here, if widely supported by state-and non-state actors, and implemented at scale, can reduce the carbon footprint of an estimated half of all the passenger and freight trips made by 2025. Actions such as these can contribute to substantive savings associated with a shift to low carbon transport. The International Energy Agency estimated that these could be as high as $70 trillion USD by 2050 as less money would need be invested in vehicles, fuel and transport infrastructure reflecting the strong economic case for climate action in the transport sector. Enabling policies and financing for these initiatives – which cover both mitigation and adaptation – will be key in implementing ambitious action on climate change and keeping to the required 2° C limit, not to mention 1.5 C. These initiatives on transport and climate change will also contribute significantly towards realizing the Global Goals on Sustainable Development adopted in September 2015 in New York. The initiatives (in alphabetical order) include: