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Report warns of drastic transport emissions rise

Motorway

Current policies tackling global CO2 emissions from transport are not enough to achieve global climate ambitions, according to a new report.

Speaking at the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) Transport Outlook 2017 report launch, ITF Secretary-General José Viegas stressed that robust transport policy is vital to countering rising CO2 levels.

“Transport policy matters. This is not a question,” he said. “We need to both accelerate innovation and make radical policy choices to decarbonise transport.”

The report found that higher vehicle demand means by 2050 CO2 emissions from transport will still be at 2015 levels of around 7.5Gt – factoring in reduced emissions due to new technologies and transport behavioural changes.

In the less optimistic scenario, transport CO2 emissions are set to increase by 60% due to an increase in demand, particularly from Asia.

“Technology will provide about 70% of the possible CO2 reductions to 2050. The rest will come from doing things differently, and this is where there is still a lot of potential. We need to think much harder about things like shared mobility, changes in supply chains and even new transport modes,” said Viegas.

A significant barrier to reducing carbon emissions is the lack of rail or waterway transport in up and coming trade regions, meaning that road emissions will double. Intra-Asian routes in particular will face emission hikes with a 250% increase in freight transport by 2050.

Passengers also contribute to the problem as car use in cities is set to double by 2050 to meet demand in emerging economies. However the report stresses that if the right public transport policies are initiated, cities can keep the number of cars at 2015 levels.

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