Financing Transport Decarbonisation At Scale
COP28 Session Recap
Decarbonising transport - from short city journeys to long-haul trucking - was the topic of this session at COP28.
“Just a few years ago, emissions from trucks and buses were considered hard to abate. Today, luckily we know better and we're able to reduce these emissions drastically and swiftly.”
These are the words of Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment in the Netherlands, addressing delegates at the COP28 Financing Transport Decarbonization at Scale session.
The discussion centred on ways to lower emissions such as using public transport for shorter trips, and the shift to cleaner forms of transport for longer journeys.
The most effective way to reduce emissions is to avoid them altogether. Currently 60% of all urban trips are shorter than 5 km, yet half of these are travelled by car instead of by active mobility, such as walking, wheeling and cycling.
“To reach the Paris Climate Agreement goals we need a more model shift from motorised vehicles to active mobility,” said Heijnen.
Investing in active mobility reduces CO2 emissions and creates healthier, active people and more livable cities, she said, announcing the launch of ACTIVE, the Alliance for Cycling and Walking Towards International Vitality and Environment. The initiative aims to promote active mobility projects and establish supporting finance, to make cities more accessible.
Embracing cleaner forms of transport
Negating emissions from heavy transport presents a very different challenge. Delegates discussed the global memorandum of understanding on zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles, launched at COP26, which aims to have all sales of new trucks and buses zero emissions by 2040.
DP World is embracing an electric future with its truck fleets. The company has taken delivery of new zero-emissions electric trucks for its German operations, for example. But future investment decisions require certainty of policy, technology and availability of charging infrastructure.
The MoU aligns ambition with great clarity, said Stephanie Kodish, Global director of Drive to Zero at Calstart.
“But the most important thing, once we're able to align that ambition is to meet that ambition, with a clear legal framework that specifies stakeholder actors’ regulatory responsibility and a timeframe to align the whole of the ecosystem, so that we are all moving towards the same end goal with great clarity,” she said.
“Right now we still live within the policy ambition phase, it needs to come down to the practical level,” said Sophie Punte, founder and board member of the Smart Freight Centre and supervisory board member of Milence.
One trend at work is the growth of communities where best practices can be shared along with collaboration to share learnings from how others have overcome challenges, Stephanie added.
Collaboration and predictability are important parts of creating the ecosystem for low emissions vehicles, including for regulators, manufacturers to invest in the right technologies and freight companies to make informed decisions when buying new vehicles.