The transport sector is a key enabler of economic growth and international trade, and demand for transportation
services continues to grow, thus increasing emissions. Countries and jurisdictions around the world are designing
and implementing policies and actions to enable low-carbon transport, primarily because of the mitigation
co-benefits such as reduced local air pollution, improved public health and energy security, decongestion of
roads, improved safety and increased general mobility. The shift towards low-carbon transport can also create
jobs in mass transportation, energy-efficient vehicle manufacturing and biofuel production.
Why action now matters
Increasing pre-2020 ambition in the transport sector is essential for avoiding future lock-in, given the
slow turnover of vehicle stocks, longevity of transport infrastructure and expanding urban sprawl,
for making progress in the face of increased growth in demand and for harnessing major co-benefits
on reducing air pollution and improving public health. The shift towards low-carbon transport and
realizing renewable energy and energy efficiency potential will depend on significant investments by
vehicle manufacturers, which will, in turn, require strengthening incentives and policies (Edenhofer
et al, 2014). It also takes time to change the behaviour of consumers, which will be a necessary element
for realizing modal shifts (REN21, 2016).
Moving forward through policy options
The best practices in the transport sector center around the Avoid-Shift-Improve framework (LEDS Global Partnership,
Avoid policies seek to reduce or avoid the need for trips by reducing travel demand. This can be achieved through
integrated land-use planning, transport infrastructure planning and transport demand management policies.
For example, integrated transport planning has been pursued in Curitiba, Brazil; London, United Kingdom;
Madrid, Spain; Qingdao and Hong Kong, China, and Singapore (Litman, 2014).
Shift policies change the way people and freight are moved by facilitating adoption of more environmentally
friendly transport modes, including mass transit, car sharing and non-motorized transport. For example, bus
rapid transit programmes, which have helped to cut private car use, have been adopted in: Auckland, New
Zealand; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chengdu and Yichang, China; Mexico City, Mexico; and
Seoul, Republic of Korea (Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, 2013). Several jurisdictions are also
pursuing non-motorized transportation. For example, in China, Beijing has established a bike sharing programme
and Nanjing has developed pedestrian roads. Bogota, Colombia, has segregated bicycle lanes. In Utrecht, Netherlands,
mini-roundabouts and other approaches have been developed to support cycling. Trains, trams and metros
have also been advanced around the world, and the prominent examples are Bangkok, Thailand, and Singapore.
Improve policies focus on improvements in vehicles and fuels. This is chiefly achieved through the fuel economy
standards that have been adopted in many countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, the
Republic of Korea and the United States. Improvements have also been achieved through pursuing hydrogen
and electric vehicle (EV) programmes. For example, Germany has established a National Innovation Programme
for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology; Finland has a fuel cell programme; the Republic of Korea has advanced
hydrogen and fuel cell automobile research; and the United Kingdom has its H2Mobility programme (IEA,
undated; Tekes, undated). Also, EV policies or integrated systems to support EVs have been established in several
cities/countries, including Bogota (electric taxi programme), China (5 million EV deployment target); the EU
(directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure); Oslo, Norway (local tax incentives for EVs); Tokyo,
Japan (integrated urban system), and India (National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020) (IEA, 2016; IEA, 2014).
Solutions though international cooperation
Multilateral partnerships between governments, cities, development institutions and the private sector can
play a critical role in building commitment and supporting robust capacity-building and ongoing collaboration
towards low-carbon transport. Several partnerships were launched under the LPAA that can support these objectives and can have a significant impact in
catalysing effective low-carbon transport action globally. These include:
the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate; the Declaration on Climate Leadership by the International Association
of Public Transport; the Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge led by the International Union of Railways; the
MobiliseYourCity Initiative; and the Global Fuel Economy Initiative.
In addition, there are a number of multilateral, bilateral and regional development institutions and initiatives
supporting finance, technology transfer and capacity-building. Examples include the Africa Sustainable Transport
Forum, the Declaration from Ministers on Green and Inclusive Transport agreed at the International Transport
Forum of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Electric Vehicles Initiative of
the Clean Energy Ministerial, motor vehicle energy efficiency and emissions control programmes in the Group of
20 (G20) nations, the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport and the Clean Energy Partnership promoting
the use of hydrogen.
Action by ICAO and IMO on international transport and
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) have advanced rules and regulations related to curbing emissions from the international
aviation and maritime transportation and thus complementing the ambition of the Paris Agreement.
Since 2010, ICAO established aspirational goals of improving global annual average fuel efficiency
by 2 per cent per year and carbon neutral growth from 2020. Means to achieve these goals include
the recommendation of the first ever CO2 standard for airplanes, encouraging the development and
deployment of sustainable alternative fuels, development of more than 100 State Action Plans and
provision of assistance to States. At its Assembly in October this year ICAO passed another historic milestone
and adopted the first ever global market-based measure scheme to regulate emissions from international
aviation; pursuant to the scheme, the airline carriers will have to offset emissions growth from 2020. The
IMO introduced in 2013 mandatory energy efficiency standards for new ships and has approved draft
amendment to MARPOL Convention. The amendment that is expected to be adopted in October 2016,
shall establish mandatory reporting of fuel consumption and transport work parameters by ships.
Both, ICAO and IMO are established to develop globally harmonized rules, and their experience and
understanding of effective implementation by governments and industry of those rules can be helpful
to support technology innovation and deployment, facilitate enabling environments and strengthen
technology transfer and capacity-building.
Strengthening of efficiency standards in North America
In June 2016, Canada, Mexico and the United States committed to reduce emissions from lightand
heavy-duty vehicles by aligning fuel efficiency and/or emissions standards, accelerating the
deployment of clean vehicles in government fleets, and fostering research and development of clean
technologies, and greater freight transportation (Office of the Prime-Minister of Canada, 2016).