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Together with energy efficiency, clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are central to the fight against climate change. They are available today, getting better and cheaper all the time, and help improve air quality whilst creating new jobs. Photo©UN/Eskinder Debebe

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An important part of the work of the partnership of agencies and organizations under the banner, Bridging the Gap: Pathways for Transport in a Post 2020 process is  aimed at getting countries to include transport in their formal climate planning. This includes in Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted in the run-up to Paris and in developing countries’ published Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

Transport accounts for 27 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions globally but needs to receive more attention in the climate change negotiations, said Ramon Cruz of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) at a side event at the international climate change negotiations in Bonn heard on 4 June.

Meanwhile, a pledge by the Asian Development Bank and seven other multilateral development banks to commit more than USD175 billion in loans and grants for transport in developing countries, and the UN Secretary-General’s setting up of a High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport could lead to a a more forceful response by the transport sector.

Transport has Many Co-Benefits of Climate Action

The most obvious value of transport projects lies in their co-benefits, such as improved air quality, reduced accidents and improved livability of cities, said Oliver Lah of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. He foresees that under the right conditions, including access to finance and encouragement through efforts like the German Partnership for Sustainable Mobility and Solutions , the attraction of these co-benefits will drive up the number of transport projects and thus help drive down emissions.

Frank Krämer with GIZ, the German corporation for international cooperation, outlined his agency’s work “scaling up climate-friendly transport,” by encouraging, identifying and financing transport projects in NAMAs under an initiative called Transfer. The initiative includes maintenance of a database of transport NAMAs.

Transport is often a sub-national issue, the realm of cities and municipalities, which is why the organization ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, puts significant effort into transport issues. Yunus Arikan, that organization’s Head of global policy and advocacy, briefed the saide event's panel and participants on the EcoMobility World Festival, which will see Sandton, the business district of Johannesburg, South Africa, go completely car free for the month of October 2015.

The neighborhood of Haenggung-dong in Suwon, Korea, ran the same “real-time experiment of ecomobile living” in September 2013, leaving behind urban parks, bicycles, and a transformed street pattern, reported Mr. Arikan.

Karl Peet of the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport told the event “that transport requires additional attention in the UNFCCC process.” His organization, with Michelin Challenge Bibendum and others, is trying to correct that through an initiative called the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate.

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