Putting transport at the center of climate action at COP20 climate dialogues
At long last, cities are firmly on the agenda at international climate discussions, and it is increasingly clear that cities cannot address their greenhouse gas emissions without focusing on emissions from transport. COP20 in Lima, Peru is a major milestone on the path to establishing an international climate agreement expected to be reached at COP21 in Paris in 2015. International leaders are looking for win-win investment opportunities to curb greenhouse emissions and deliver on local social and economic development goals. By advancing sustainable urban transport, EMBARQ – the urban mobility initiative of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities – is helping cities worldwide make low-carbon transport a reality.
Transport is crucial to the fight against climate change
In 2011, the transport sector was responsible for 22% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions from transport are increasing faster than any other sector. Nearly 90% of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions from transport is expected to occur in non-OECD countries, making it crucial for emerging cities to invest in low-carbon solutions instead of locking-in carbon intensive infrastructure for decades.
Along with a cohort of experts and international organizations, EMBARQ developed the 2050 Global Calculator to inform policy decisions on trade-offs between different possible emissions mitigation efforts. Preliminary data from the tool – which was previewed at COP20 – shows that the transport sector has the potential to increase or decrease total emissions by up to 20%. COP20 also hosted the third edition of Transport Day, a day of panels and workshops exploring how transport can contribute to the fight against climate change. Organized by the Partnership for Sustainable Low-carbon Transport (SLoCaT), Transport Day 2014 emphasized how transport can help mitigate climate change both within official negotiations and beyond.
How can cities finance sustainable transport?
Adequate finance remains a critical challenge to scaling up sustainable transport solutions as part of country- and city-level climate action. Global transport investment averages between US$ 1.4 and US$ 2.1 trillion each year, but the majority of these investments fund carbon-intensive projects. A fundamental policy shift is needed to increase public finance to sustainable transport. Furthermore, research from the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that half of all transport investment comes from the private sector. Creating partnerships between governments, the private sector, multilateral investment banks, and civil society can help support low-carbon transport development.
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) also represent an important tool to finance low-carbon transport investment. NAMAs are a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) instrument to help developing countries find funding sources for low-carbon investments, and provide a methodology for measuring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions. On November 24, 2014, Towards Climate-Friendly Transport Technologies and Measures (TRANSfer) released the Transport NAMA Report 2014, co-authored by Benoit Lefevre, Director of Energy and Climate for the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. The report explains the challenges and best practices for Transport NAMA development.
EMBARQ helps Peru progress towards transformative low-carbon transport investments
With EMBARQ’s help, Peru is demonstrating how NAMA’s can kick-start low-carbon transport development. Peru was recently awarded €9 million (US$ 11.14 million) from the NAMA facility for its extensive plans to improve sustainable transport in cities across the country – particularly in Lima and Callao. The NAMA will help Peru leverage finance from development banks and the private sector to help fund its multi-billion dollar investment plans. Peru’s plans include expanding bike lanes, Lima’s metro system, and other transport infrastructure. It will also strengthen transport regulation like fuel economy standards, and create institutional reforms to establish comprehensive governance over urban transport systems.
Peru continues to be a leader in using sustainable transport as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its transport improvement plans were coordinated between the Ministry of Transport (MTC) and the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), and are embedded into its national Climate Action Plan (PlanCC). Along with EMBARQ, Peru has received support from GIZ, PUC University, and other local partners. They are also developed a measuring, reporting and verification system (MRV) to track emissions reduction from low-carbon investments.
With COP21 in Paris on the horizon, countries are developing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to propose steps to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions. Prioritizing the development of low-carbon urban transport can make an important contribution to achieving national mitigation goals while also supporting economic development and improving quality of life in cities.
About EMBARQ at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, Sustainable Urban Mobility by WRI, catalyzes and helps implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve quality of life in cities.