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Transport Day 2018 shows urban mobility's vital role in climate change action

Author: Richard Adams
Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 13:12

Transport is responsible for a quarter of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, whilst at least half of all air pollution in cities and a third of transport-related CO2 emissions originate from urban passenger transport. Such figures reveal why urban mobility action is crucial to tackling climate change.

Transport Day 2018, which took place on 6 December in Katowice (Poland) as part of COP 24, showcased existing urban mobility solutions and new initiatives from national and sub-national governments to decarbonise mobility.

Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport emphasised the importance of transport decarbonisation and climate action for people's lives and livelihoods. She introduced the European Commission’s “long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” by 2050.

José Mendes, First Secretary of State for Mobility, Portugal, and Chair of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, affirmed the importance of bringing together countries, cities and regions, and companies: "There are enough solutions to achieve carbon neutrality for transport; there is also political momentum, and national leaders are starting to recognise the importance of non-state actors".

The event also demonstrated the central role of cities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality through transport. Best practice examples were showcased from around the world, including CIVITAS cities Madrid and Ghent.

Breakout sessions highlighted the importance of city- and sub-national-level action and adaptation strategies and social, policy, and financing innovations that can galvanise them. Another common sentiment was that the technology and solutions needed already exist - these must be used together in a comprehensive, integrated, and cross-sectoral approach.

Transport Day 2018 concluded with a closing plenary moderated by Maruxa Cardama, Secretary-General of the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT). During this, the need was emphasised for transport to engage with adaptive and mitigatory efforts and the transport community to be embedded in the climate discussions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), particularly in concert with the energy sector.

The day's intense discussion and exchange also underlined  how national governments can support cities to foster sustainable urban mobility. These include supportive national legislation and frameworks, common planning tools, and funding to implement initiatives.

Transport Day 2018 should lead to the increased integration of urban mobility-related actions into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) being developed by States in 2019 and submitted to the UNFCCC in 2020.

Only 8% of NDCs have quantified emissions reduction targets relating to transport: If transport’s immense potential to tackle climate change is to be realised, this must change now.

See Madrid's presentation here and Ghent's presentation here.

Read the Transport Day 2018 press release here and about the NDCs here.

Transport Day 2018 was organised by the CIVITAS Initiative and SLoCaT on behalf of the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC).

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