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Decarbonising Transport initiative

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The Decarbonising Transport initiative promotes carbon-neutral mobility to help stop climate change. It provides decision makers with tools to select CO2 mitigation measures that deliver on their climate commitment.

Climate change affects lives around the globe. Rising temperatures cause draughts, rising sea levels threaten low-lying regions, ever more extreme weather leads to severe disruptions. Climate change cannot be stopped without decarbonising transport. Transport emits around 23% of the energy-related CO2 that feeds global warming.

Without immediate action, its share could reach 40% by 2030. Transport emissions have grown faster than those of any other sector over the past 50 years. Demand for transport will continue to grow massively in the coming decades. As a result, CO2 emissions from transport activity will not fall, but could increase by 60% by 2050. And because transport relies on oil for 92% of its energy, it is particularly hard to decarbonise

The Decarbonising Transport initiative helps governments and industry to translate climate ambitions into actions. Specifically, it:

  • Builds a catalogue of effective CO2 mitigation measures.
  • Provides targeted analytical assistance for countries and partners to identify climate actions that work.
  • Gathers and shares evidence for best practices that will accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral mobility.
  • Shapes the climate change debate by building a global policy dialogue and by bringing the transport perspective to the broader climate change discussions.

 The Decarbonising Transport initiative is organised in five work streams:

  • Tracking progress: The initiative evaluates how current mitigation measures contribute to reaching objectives for reducing transport CO2.
  • In-depth sectoral studies: The initiative identifies effective policies for decarbonising urban passenger transport, road freight transport, maritime transport, aviation and inter-urban transport.
  • Focus studies: The initiative analyses specific decarbonisation issues and feeds the results into other work streams.
  • National pathways: The initiative assesses available policy levers for decarbonising transport from a country perspective. Projects may also examine regional or sub-national levels.
  • Policy Dialogue: The initiative organises global dialogue on transport and climate change through high-level roundtables, policy briefings and technical workshops. It acts as a conduit for transport sector input to climate change negotiations.

The Decarbonising Transport initiative does not advocate specific measures or policies. Building on an evidence-based assessment of mitigation impacts, it identifies options for decision-makers to achieve their targets - for instance the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries under the Paris Agreement, as well as targets set by sectors, companies or cities.  

The assessments of the Decarbonising Transport initiative are grounded in data analysis and advanced modelling. Uniquely, the ITF modelling framework derives projections of transport activity from analysing the drivers of demand. It then models how changes in mobility patterns affect CO2 emissions.

All work streams of the Decarbonising Transport initiative are open for involvement. The initiative currently unites more than 70 governments, organisations, institutions, foundations and companies. Partners contribute in different roles including as funders and knowledge partners.

The Decarbonising Transport initiative was launched in 2016 with core funding from the ITF’s Corporate Partnership Board (CPB). Other funding partners currently include the governments of France, Korea, Ireland and the Netherlands, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Climate Works Foundation, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the FIA Foundation, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the Swedish Shipowners' Association.

In recognition of the work of its Decarbonising Transport initiative, the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) has named the International Transport Forum a focal point for transport under its Marrakech Partnership. In this role, the ITF acts as a conduit for the exchange of information between the transport sector and the UNFCCC, as well as providing inputs to the UNFCCC process.

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