UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for new ways of moving goods and people to support Post-2015 Agreements on Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Experts cite potential of sustainable transport to save $50 trillion by 2050

Warsaw, Poland, 19 November 2013 

The failure of global climate policy to slow the alarming growth of greenhouse gas emissions from transport needs to be addressed by scaling up sustainable transport strategies that simultaneously address health, safety, and economic development while cutting CO2 pollution according to the participants of Transport Day 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. The participants of the meeting, held in conjunction with the UNFCCC COP 19 Conference of the Parties meeting on climate change, unanimously adopted theWarsaw Statement on Low Carbon Transport and Sustainable Development. The Warsaw statement calls on the negotiators of a new global climate agreement to accelerate and spur action on low carbon transport, with a focus on land transport. It emphasizes that if available low carbon transport technologies and policies are adopted, cost savings of $50 trillion of dollars can be achieved by 2050 based on a recent International Energy Agency study.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message to Transport Day, called for “new ways of moving goods and people. I have called a Climate Summit in September 2014 to raise political will and catalyse concrete action on all climate-related issues, including sustainable transport”. The Secretary General commented that the $175 billion voluntary commitment of the world’s eight largest development banks at Rio+20 “has helped to make sustainable transport a significant feature of discussions on the post-2015 development agenda”.

Rajendra Pachauri, Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called the attention of the participants of Transport Day 2013 on the contribution of the transport sector towards climate change: “the transport sector is responsible for a quarter of the total greenhouse gas emissions”. He emphasized the need for scaling up of climate action in transport trough raising awareness and a knowledge base on effective action.

Over 500 individuals and organizations endorsed the Warsaw Statement, which will be handed to the Ministers and other senior officials arriving in Warsaw to continue discussions on a new global climate agreement. Inspired by the wide support received so far the Bridging the Gap Initiative and the SLoCaT Partnership announced that they will continue to gather support for the Warsaw Statement up to September 2014 when the Secretary General will convene global leaders to accelerate action on dangerous climate change. “Many countries and cities take action on transport in support of economic and social development, often these also reduce GHG emissions. The initiative of Secretary General has the potential to greatly accelerate these sustainable, low carbon transport efforts more so than the UNFCCC process, which so far has not generated the policies and financing required to harness the demonstrated mitigation potential in transport” says Cornie Huizenga of the SLoCaT Partnership who had a lead role in helping to bring about the MDB $175 billion Rio+20 Voluntary Commitment.

“We are now at a point where we can link efforts to realize global goals on Sustainable Development with effective low cost solutions to the climate change challenge.  With sustainable transport that promotes bus rapid transit, complete streets safe for walking and cycling, smarter planning, traffic management, more rail freight and efficient freight logistics, and better access for rural and urban residents, the world can eliminate extreme poverty and promote livable, low carbon urban development”, says Michael Replogle, Managing Director for Policy, of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and Chairman of the Warsaw Statement Drafting Committee. “Our transport systems will determine our future success.”

“The arguments for low-carbon transport are strong. The challenge is finance. And that’s where the international community can help to scale up sustainable transport, ” says Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Efficient, safer, and low-carbon transportation is essential for addressing climate change. We owe it to ourselves and our children to get this right.”

The Bridging the Gap Initiative and the SLoCaT Partnership announced their intention to have another Transport Day in 2014 and 2015.  “Transport Days like this are important to help build convincing arguments for negotiators and policy makers.  They help make transformational change possible,” says Heather Allen, Director Sustainable Transport, Transport Research Laboratory, who coordinated the Bridging the Gap Initiative’s input to Transport Day 2013. “Sustainable transport will be a vital component of our low carbon future especially as the world becomes more urbanized. Transport Day 2013 has shown that there are plenty solutions but that we need to swiftly shift from climate stupid to climate smart transport.”

For the editors:

A virtual pressroom has been created at http://globaltransportation.wordpress.com.  

Transport Day 2013 was jointly organised by the Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) partnership and the Bridging the Gap initiative and was supported by seventeen supporting organizations.  It brought together over 200 climate change and transport experts.  For more information, as well the program and presentations from Transport Day can be downloaded from www.transportday.org

The SLoCaT Partnership is a multi-stakeholder initiative established in 2009. It has over 80 members representing UN organizations, Multi Lateral and bi-lateral development organizations, civil society, academe and the business sector. SLoCaT promotes the better integration of sustainable, low carbon transport in global policies on sustainable development and climate change. www.slocat.net

The Bridging the Gap initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership formed in 2009 to encourage international recognition the role of land transport in addressing climate change in the Post-2012 agreement. The partners come from the public, private, research and NGO sectors and work together at ‘bridging the gap’ between the sustainable transport community and the climate change negotiations process. www.transport2020.org

For further information please contact: Cornie Huizenga (cornie.huizenga@slocatpartnership.org) and Heather Allen (hallen@trl.co.uk).

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