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Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report 2018


The TCC-GSR is intended primarily as a resource for policymakers to raise ambition on climate change mitigation and adaptation in sustainable transport plans and programs by countries, cities, regions or private sector companies. It provides a central repository of transport and climate change data which can support policymakers in setting transport planning targets. However, is not intended to make policy recommendations, nor advocate the use of any low carbon transport measure, mode, or technology.

The report consists of four main parts:

  • Part I provides a global overview of current trends within the transport sector, with examples of policy measures aiming at transition to low-carbon sustainable transport and mitigating emissions. This part covers passenger and freight inland transport, international aviation and shipping. 
  • Part II describes recent trends in transport demand and transport emissions and illustrates potential Paris Agreement-compliant mitigation pathways for the main global regions. This part discusses the various drivers of transport demand (population growth, rapid urbanization, economic growth), explores transport energy intensity, environmental and health implications of transport; and finally outlines transport emissions projections and mitigation potential. The aspect of transport resilience to climate change is also dealt with as the prerequisite of fulfilling its mitigation potential.
  • Part III summarizes the policy frameworks and mechanisms tracking low carbon transport measures and adaptation policy measures. The chapter also provides an overview on the progress of key indicators covering the main policy areas of sustainable and climate friendly transport.
  • Part IV describes the pathways to scale up and accelerate implementation of low-carbon transport measures and adaptation measures which include financing strategies and ongoing stakeholder efforts to support such a transformation at global, regional, national and sub-national levels.

Across the structure of the report, the Avoid-Shift-Improve framework of transport measures is used, developed to better categorize the measures and ambitions taken in the transport sector on climate change and sustainable development. Avoid refers to avoiding and reducing the need for motorized travel. Shift means opting for more environmentally friendly modes of transport, e.g. railway, public transport, cycling and walking. Improve refers to measures that improve vehicle and fuel efficiency as well as optimizing transport infrastructure.

The close relation and synergy between promoting sustainable, low-carbon transport and increasing the resilience of transport to climate change is highlighted in the report. Sustainable low-carbon passenger and freight transport systems must adapt to climate change with a view of strengthening resilience, ensuring business continuity, maintaining reliability and increasing market share (relative to high-carbon transport systems), all of which are vital for achieving the full mitigation potential of the transport sector. Despite this, transport adaptation has received so far, according to the report´s results, much less attention compared to mitigation efforts.

The report discusses ways to consider climate factors when making long-term decisions about transport infrastructure investment, location and design. Resilient transport systems include adaptive construction designs and materials that can withstand climate changes, or that can be retrofitted in a timely manner. Climate change considerations should be incorporated into transport asset management lifecycles to enhance adaptive capacity.

Challenges to mainstreaming adaptation in the transport sector have been identified as follows:

  • Decision making within uncertainty of the extent and strength of local impacts of climate change
  • Lack of relevant and reliable data to support planning and decision making
  • Coordination and cooperation of stakeholders involved in fostering climate resilience of transport

Data used in the report are drawn from the most recent publicly available sources to populate a set of key indicators, which are to be refined and expanded in the future. Future editions of the report are envisioned to have increasing emphasis on quantifying the results of policy targets and measures relative to the baselines established in the current report. To accomplish this, the TCC-GSR will seek to establish in-country networks to help compile more current and comprehensive transport data.

Reference information

Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)

Published in Climate-ADAPT Nov 29 2019   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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