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UN issues clarion call for co-ordinated GHG cutting policy in transport

The head of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has called on international governments to start co-ordinating greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies across the road transport fuel sector.

“We know that demand for transport will soar as the population grows, and we know that emissions must come down to fulfill the goals enshrined in last year’s Paris Climate Change Agreement,” Cristiana Figueres told the start of the International Transport Forum in Germany on Wednesday. The group will today launch its Decarbonising Transport project, an initiative to help the transport sector move onto a pathway towards carbon-free mobility.

Carbon reduction initiatives in road transport fuels have to date been tied into volumetric biofuels consumption mandates. Speicific carbon reduction calculations have only started to play a prominent role in evolving these mandates since 2014, with Germany and California pioneering mandates which allow fuel suppliers to monetize their carbon saving credentials.

The rest of the European market is due to follow Germany’s lead towards a GHG-based decarbonisation target for 2020, although post-2020 there remains a policy void despite the ambitious carbon reduction targets agreed by European and other governments at COP21 in Paris. Alternatives to biofuels as a source of carbon reduction continue to lack the scale needed to achieve targeted carbon cuts relative to fossil fuel consumption in the medium term. The evolution of patchwork carbon reduction policies fractured along national or state lines meanwhile will invariably reduce the economies of scale needed to drive the cost of carbon saving lower.

MS – 19/05/2016

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