Sustainable transport conference calls for dramatically accelerated action to achieve net zero emissions
Sustainable Transport Conference calls for dramatically accelerated action to achieve net zero emissions and build a green, inclusive and equitable future
Beijing, China, October 16
– The Second United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, which brought together more than 100 countries as well as thousands of experts, activists and business leaders, ended today with a call to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable transport that would result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the lives of millions of people.
Conference attendees agreed that without a profound shift towards sustainable mobility, it would be impossible to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals – already overdue.
The three-day conference, hosted by the People’s Republic of China, came at a critical time, just over two weeks ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, where the world will address the climate emergency, and as the world grapples with it. dawn of a transportation revolution – driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic – that requires good leadership.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference via video message, UN Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres said, âCOVID-19 has pushed an estimated 120 million people into extreme poverty, 160 million in hunger and delayed the education of approximately 100 million children. We are further from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on climate, oceans and biodiversity than we were when they were agreed six years ago. ”
Warning that the door to climate action was closing, he called for the decarbonization of all means of transport, in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the world.
Specifically, the Secretary-General specifically called for the phase-out of production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 for major manufacturing countries and by 2040 for developing countries; that zero-emission ships become the default choice, and commercially available to all by 2030, in order to achieve zero emissions in the maritime transport sector by 2050; and that companies start using sustainable aviation fuels now, to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 65% ââby 2050.
The Conference concluded with the Beijing Declaration, which called for the adoption of integrated, interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches, supported by greater international cooperation.
In his remarks to the conference, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to establish a global center of innovation and knowledge for sustainable transport as a contribution to global transport development.
Countries attending the conference said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role the transport sector plays in building communities and supporting livelihoods, which is impacting the movement of people. goods and people. The pandemic has caused job losses and disruption of global supply chains. As a result, communities and countries that depend on tourism have suffered huge losses in income.
Connectivity is also an issue. More than a billion people around the world still do not have access to an all-weather road, especially in developing countries, including countries in special circumstances. In Africa, 450 million people, or more than 70% of the total rural population, are still not connected to infrastructure and transport systems. Transport tailpipe emissions alone are linked to nearly 400,000 deaths and, in addition to human loss and suffering, road traffic crashes cause billions of dollars in associated costs in many countries. , to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).
The positive impact of technological change
The transition to electric mobility – resilient, safe, affordable and environmentally friendly transport – can improve lives and have a positive impact on the environment. From bike-sharing and car-pooling to improving public transportation and the increased use of electric vehicles and buses powered by renewable energy, countries, businesses and communities are stepping up efforts to shift to more environmentally friendly modes.
âNow we have the opportunity to seize the innovation and technology that can revolutionize transportation,â said Conference Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. âBut these new technologies have to work for everyone. We have the solutions, and now we need global cooperation to ensure that sustainable transport drives our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement. “
Progress is insufficient
However, challenges remain. While some member states have taken initial steps to tackle emissions from shipping and aviation, for example, current commitments are not sufficient to meet the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement target. .
Countries in special circumstances, remote rural communities and vulnerable groups risk being left behind as the number of new and emerging transport-related technologies increases. More than $ 2 trillion in transportation infrastructure investments will be needed each year until 2040 to fuel economic development. There is also a need to strengthen policies relating to road safety measures and regulations relating to the importation of new and used vehicles.
Commitments on sustainable transport: https://www.un.org/en/conferences/transport2021/commitments
To learn more about the key issues underlying the conference, please visit: bit.ly/transportreportUN
Â© Scoop Media