Urban transport and climate change

Urban transport and climate change

Cities in many parts of the world are growing rapidly and, according to projections, two thirds of the world population will live in cities by 2050. Urban transport constitutes 40% of total transport energy consumption and is poised to double by 2050, despite ongoing vehicle technology and fuel-economy improvements.

Urban transport is also a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and therefore of climate change according to the latest report by the IPCC, “without aggressive and sustained mitigation policies being implemented, transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from the other energy end-use sectors and reach around 12 Gt CO2eq per year by 2050”, a third of what is considered by scientists an acceptable threshold to stay under a 2°C increase in global temperature.

“Changing transport policies and patterns are crucial to win the climate battle and keep us under the 2°C threshold. Cities and regions are at the forefront of this transition”.

Monika Zimmermann, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

  • International Energy Agency statistics indicate that in 2012 transport was the largest energy consuming sector in 40% of countries worldwide, and in most remaining countries, transport is the second largest energy consuming sector.
  • The EU Commission estimates that the implementation of sustainable urban transport measures in a given city has a substantial effect on GHG emissions, since it could lead to a CO2 emission reduction between 35 % and 70 % in 2040 compared to business as usual for the assessed cities (Barcelona, Malmö, Freiburg and Sofia).
  • “Road transport accounts for 17% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also responsible for up to 90% of urban air pollution. More than 1.3 million people are killed every year and more than 50 million are seriously injured; 90% of which Is in the developing world.” Source: http://www.unep.org/transport/sharetheroad/PDF/SharetheRoadReportweb.pdf
  • There is no shortage of current commitments and initiatives – both on the supply and demand sides – to help reduce the climate impact of urban transport. The challenge now is to ensure that local efforts are properly coordinated and that these local efforts are effectively translated to policies at the national, regional and global levels. (SLoCaT, Transport and Climate Change , EcoMobility Dialogues / Technical Paper, September 2015)

Infrastructure investment and maintenance costs for motorized transport constitute a large amount in cities worldwide. Automobiles have an average use of 5% a day and the rest are just taking up urban space, consume large energy amounts and produce GHG. Our cities today are congested and the only way out is to plan for more ecomobile options and for a modal split reducing the share of personal automobiles.

X
X