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Cities will be key to a low carbon, resilient global economy able to address and adapt to climate change. Many are emerging as leaders cutting emissions and greening infrastructure. Photo ©Pline

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Four global transport alliances launched or advanced initiatives that aim to significantly scale-p proven low carbon transport technologies. Announced at today’s UN Climate Summit, these initiatives would increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, increase the efficiency of rail transport and air travel, and provide sustainable public transportation options around the world.

Up to $70 Trillion at Stake

The International Energy Agency estimates that a shift to sustainable, low-carbon transport by the middle of the century could save governments, companies and individuals up to US$70 trillion.

A shift towards sustainable transport is essential to prevent greenhouse gas emissions by transport from doubling by the middle of the century and to achieve the internationally agreed goal of a maximum 2 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperature.

Transport contributes about one quarter of energy-related global GHG emissions and about one fifth of energy use. Under a ‘Business as Usual’ scenario, energy use and GHG emissions are projected to rise by nearly 50 percent by 2030 and by more than 80 percent by 2050 (from 2009).

Urban Electric Mobility Initiative

A new Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI) was launched in New York to increase the number of electric vehicles in cities to least 30 percent of all new vehicles sold per year by 2030 while simultaneously developing the enabling infrastructure for their effective use.

The initiative is supported by private companies including BYD, Mahindra Reva, and Michelin, one of the two largest tire manufacturers in the world, as well as UN-Habitat.

 Low-Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge

The International Union of Railways (UIC) –with 240 members worldwide including the major railways of Europe, China, Russia, India and the US –launched the Low-Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge.

UIC aims to increase rail use for freight and transport and meet ambitious targets for increased efficiency and emission reduction of 50 percent each by 2030 and 60 and 75 percent, respectively, by 2050.

UIC will monitor and report the progress by the rail sector towards achieving these goals. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of the International Railway Association said:

We expect this initiative to result in 75 per cent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from rail transport by 2050. In total, we aim to save over one gigatonne of carbon emissions globally through improved energy efficiency and through building partnerships.

Public Transport Declaration on Climate Leadership

The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Declaration on Climate Leadership resulted in over 350 commitments and actions from 110 public transport entities being undertaken in the lead up to the Summit.

These actions contribute to UITP’s objective of doubling the market share of public transport around the world by 2025, announced at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012.

Sustainable International Aviation Sector

Governments under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the aviation industry, represented through the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), stepped up commitment and partnerships to achieve the ultimate objective of a sustainable international aviation sector, and in particular to reach the industry’s long-term existing global goal to halve net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

As part of this commitment, ICAO and ATAG are supporting the development of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation as well as the deployment of new technology for aircraft and operational improvements to ensure increased efficiency in the industry.

They are working with partners to develop a global CO2 standard for new aircraft and to design and implement a global market-based measure for international aviation for implementation from 2020 onward.

Over 100 actions by partners and industry leaders, including Virgin Atlantic and Thai Airways, have been launched or scaled up since the Secretary-General’s call to action for the Summit in Sept 2013.

See the full UN announcement on Transport


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