Sustainable transport is the key to the shift to green energy

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With global transport at a crossroads, government leaders, industry experts, and civil society groups gather in Beijing, China for a United Nations conference to chart a course for a stronger future. sustainability for the sector and greater climate action in general.

The three-day United Nations conference on sustainable transport, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transport can contribute to the climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.

It takes place just weeks before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary General António Guterres underlined the issues.

“The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is at the heart of this transformation ”, he said.

The shift to sustainable transport could generate savings of $ 70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.

Better access to roads could help Africa become self-sufficient in food and create a regional food market worth $ 1 trillion by the end of the decade.

Net zero goal

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how transportation is “much more than a means of transporting people and goods from point A to point B,” the UN chief said.

On the contrary, transport is essential to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, both of which were “seriously out of step” even before the crisis.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the door to action is closing, he warned.

“Transport, which represents more than a quarter of global greenhouse gases, is the key to getting on the right track. We must decarbonize all means of transport, in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the world.

A role for everyone

Decarbonizing transport forces countries to tackle emissions from shipping and aviation, as current commitments are not aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Priorities here include phasing out internal combustion engine vehicle production by 2040, while zero-emission ships “must be the default choice” for the maritime sector.

“All stakeholders have a role to play, from individuals changing their travel habits to companies transforming their carbon footprint,” said the Secretary-General.

He urged governments to encourage clean transport, for example through regulatory and taxation standards, and to impose tighter regulation of infrastructure and public procurement.

Safer transport for all

Security and access issues must also be addressed, continued the Secretary-General.

“This means helping more than a billion people access paved roads, with spaces reserved for pedestrians and bicycles, and providing convenient transit options,” he said.

“This means providing safe conditions for all on public transport by ending harassment and violence against women and girls, and reducing deaths and injuries from road accidents. ”

Making transport resilient

Post-pandemic recovery must also lead to resilient transport systems, with investments moving towards sustainable transport and generating decent jobs and opportunities for isolated communities.

“Public transport should be the foundation of urban mobility,” he said. “Per dollar invested, it creates three times more jobs than the construction of new highways. ”

With many existing transport infrastructure, such as ports, vulnerable to extreme weather events, better risk analysis and planning are needed, as well as increased funding for climate adaptation, especially in developing countries. development.

Mr. Guterres stressed the need for effective partnerships, including with the private sector, so that countries can work together in a more coherent manner.

“The transformative potential of sustainable transport can only be unleashed if improvements translate into poverty eradication, decent jobs, better health and education, and increased opportunities for women and girls. Countries have a lot to learn from each other, ”he said.


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