Report of the One Day Seminary: "Climate Change: A Common Opportunity To Transform Urban Transport?"

On October 14th, a one day seminary was organized in Paris, France by CODATU focusing on the role of sustainable urban mobility in mitigating climate change.  Theone-day seminary was facilitated by Olivier Razemon, journalist at Le Monde.  The objective of the seminary was  to gather decision makers and national and international urban transport experts to highlight the role of sustainable urban mobility on climate change mitigation. The event brought together more than 80 participants from all around Europe and the world. 

Below, there are highlights from the presentations are summarized:

Local stakes  linked to low-carbon mobility

Christian PHILIP, Secretary General of CODATU introduced the round table by pointing out the interest of the decentralization for the establishment of public policies in favor of sustainable urban mobility in developed and developing countries. He considers that urban mobility issues have to be taken into consideration on the discussions to COP21. He presented an Initiative lead by CODATU to foster city-to-city cooperation and encourage the development of low-carbon mobility policies in developing cities. This initiative is based on the Declaration « We have much more than transports in common« .

For Louis NEGRE, President of the GART, it is difficult to obtain a strong adherence to the official greenhouse gases reduction targets. The « ecotaxe » is an example. A lot of pedagogy  and political will are needed to ensure actions. Jean-Louis Borloo  had this two qualities when leading the « Grenelle Law« , and many innovative measures were accepted (land capital gain, congestion charges, etc.), unfortunately, they could not be implemented. The economical crisis is certainly the reason of the inaction of decision makers on this issues.

Jean-Babtiste GERNET, City and Community Councilor of Strasbourg recalled that there is three dimensions to ensure behavioral change and modal shift reinforcement: travel ease, pricing and public attitude. The city has to propose efficient transportation modes and a good intermodality to implement binding measures.  The city of Strasbourg gave itself  a 30% reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions and in addition, a  reduction of 30% of transport emissions, and less 30% of km traveled. In addition, Strasbourg participates actively on city-to-city cooperation to share know and know-how with South cities, for example with Udaipur in India, Kayseri in Turkey and Nanjing in China.

Rober COUZON, vice-president of the SMTC Clermont- Ferrand stressed the efforts made in the city to ensure a diversity of transport modes and local mobility policies to reinforce modal shift : development of a public transport network and help for the implementation of Company Mobility Plans. In addition, Clermont-Ferrand is part of a consortium for the execution of a tramway project in Cuenca (Ecuador). The SMTC was involved in the project by private partners that were willing to enhance the experience acquired during the implementation of the local tramway project.

Respond together to climate challenges

Véronique MASSENET, from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and of Energy (in replacement of Sylvie LEMMET), congrats transport sector mobilization and its participation to the outcome of an agenda of solutions to tackle climate change, and for the presence of local decision makers, private companies, academics, etc, because all the stakeholders of a sector have a important role to play to accelerate States commitments.

She recalled the success of the New York Summit, and in particular the place of local entities. That event allowed an important recognition of the role played by cities and local authorities. Furthermore, transport figured among the sectors which had achieve an important mobilization of key players. « We count on you for the urban agendas! We are here to help you to structure your actions!« 

John DULAC, Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), recalled the strong energy consumption of land transport and its impact to climate change. He presented the different scenarios studied by the IEA and highlighted the interest of using the Avoid-Shift-Improve (A-S-I) methodology which consist on reducing the travel need, on ensuring modal shift to more efficient and less pollutant modes and the improvement of vehicles efficiency. Following IEA studies, if this methodology is applied on transport sector, 70 000 billion dollars could be saved by 2050. See the graphic presentation

Mary CRASS, Head of Policy at the International Transport Forum (ITF) presented the studies made in China, India and Latin America, areas where urban growth is the most significant. The scenarios involved two kinds of policies: those in favor of private transport and those in favor of public transport. The last ones are the most efficient to participate to emissions reductions of urban transport sector. In China, in LA or in India, the development of a pro-public transport policies can allow a reduction of (respectively) 26%, 31%, and 47% of greenhouse gas emissions coming from the sector. See the graphic presentation

Cornie HUIZENGA, Secretary General of the Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport Partnership (SLoCaT) evoked that it is important to raise the role of land transport on climate change mitigation and that transport stakeholders need to act together for this sector to be taken into consideration on the next climate binding agreement. He went back on the voluntary commitments presented during the New York  Climate Summit (09/23/14).

Anne ODIC from the French Agency for Development (AFD) presented the activities of the AFD linking cities and climate. The AFD supports and funds projects and city-to-city cooperation that contribute to the development of South cities and that have a positive impact on climate. She pointed out that city and travel planning projects can contain a part concerning the environment, which will have positive impacts on climate without been the unique justification of the project, this option is more acceptable for South decision makers. 

Christophe NAJDOVSKI, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Transportation recalled that Paris adopted the « Facteur 4″ objective to 2050 and aims to achieve a reduction of -25% of greenhouse gaz emissions by 2020. In Paris, transport is the biggest contributor on emissions and air pollution. And, even if there was a reduction of 7% of emissions between 2004 and 2009, it is necessary to reinforce action, in particular by reducing the number and the distance of obligatory travels (notably between the est and west of Paris metropolitan area). Paris is already a dense city, it concentrates more than 30 000 hab/km2,  and to ensure travel reduction and modal share, it is essential that the first crown of the urban area get denser.

 Measuring transport mitigation potential

Damien VERRY from the CEREMA, believes that it is important to develop measuring instruments that link travels to CO2 emissions to better understand mobility issues. He proposes a balance of greenhouse gas emissions in France by showing that two thirds of the emissions come for passenger travel, and that 70% of them are linked to daily local mobility. However, it is also important to take into consideration the growing share part of freight transport. Within a sociological analysis of the emissions, we see that 20% of the biggest contributors (big travelers, shuttle services users and hypermobile travelers) are responsible for 60% of total emissions. See the graphic presentation

Mathieu SAUJOT from the French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), considers that city transportation is a key factor for CO2 emissions mitigation. The outcomes of a study made in Grenoble show that the cost of reduction actions for transport (BRT, congestion charges, tramway extension, electric vehicles, car sharing, etc) had different  impact and efficacy levels. However, it is important to consider the co-benefits when evaluating policies and projects for a city.This will allow decision makers to implement the most advantageous  projects/policies (economically, socially and environmentally).

Jurg GRUTTER, from Grütter Consulting, presented the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) adopted under the Kyoto Protocol and the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). This two mechanisms take account of the advantages of a project or a policy beyond its climate impact. For transport sector this is more interesting, in particular given the co-benefits  from the implementation of sustainable mobility policies. But he stressed  two main difficulties : (1) the argument of been holistic is often employed  to avoid the measure policy results and (2) the lack of available data and of statistical equipment investment.

Co-benefits of sustainable mobility policies

Christophe MARVILLET, Professor in title of the Chair « Energetics » at the CNAM, believes that the sustainability of vehicles doesn’t only depend on its energy consumption but also on the source of the energy they use. Nowadays it is possible to use alternative energy to power vehicles: biofuel, electricity, hydrogen. It is also important to measure the impact from the « source to the road ».

Ali HUZAYYIN, Professor at Cairo University and President of the Human Settlements Global Research Network Advisory Board presented the main lines of the Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility global report that was published last year. This report focused on accessibility to evaluate the travel need of inhabitants. He highlighted the necessity of a stronger governance that can allow the implementation of of mobility policies that respond to social, environmental and economical issues.

Laurent DAVEZIES, Professor in title of the Chair « Local development and economics » at the CNAM, said that he accepted the invitation to speak in honor to Jean-Claude Ziv, who, 30 years ago, charged him on organizing the first CODATU conference in Dakar as Technical Director. He worked with Jean-pierre Orfeuil, on public transport and vehicle modal share, in particular during the fuel price growth in 2008.

In France, big cities have known a growth of public transport modal share for home-work travels but for little cities, private vehicle travel prevails. We can relate this findings to net job creation which, since 2000, is more important in the heart of metropolitan areas where the accessibility by public transportation is bigger. As example : in the 284 cities with more than 10 000 employments by km2 (than represents 17% of the French population and 40% of employments), car modal share is up to 44% (when French average is 68%). From 2007 to 2012, we observed a concentration of job creation in this zones : +250 000 when, in the rest of the country,  350 000 jobs were lost. However, for dispersed territories, public mobility policies should focus on a better travel management and car sharing.

Transport initiatives for a low-carbon mobility

Jerome POURBAIX, Head of Policy at the International Union of Public Transport evoked its members’  voluntary climate commitments in different 80 cities (Declaration on Climate Leadership) that were presented at the Climate Summit in New York. He also pointed out the emissions reduction potential of a significant  increase of modal share of public transportation. As an example in Europe, doubling modal share of public transport, might produce a significant decrease of energy consumption by 30 million tons oil equivalent between 2005 and 2025. See the graphic presentation

John DULAC, presented the Global Fuel Economy Initiative. This aims to improve vehicle fuel consumption and to prove this sector’s potential to reduce CO2 emissions. He highlighted the « 50by50″ initiative which aims to reduce vehicle’s fuel consumption of 50% by 2050. This is possible in particular by improving emission standards in developing countries. See the graphic presentation

Heather ALLEN, coordinator of Bridging the Gap initiative presented the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI) lead by UN-Habitat and  that has as objective to enhance the market share of this type of mobility by at least 30% by 2030. This initiative aims to be apply in developed and developing cities. See the graphic presentation

Ronan DANTEC, Senator and climate spokesman for United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), concluded the session by recalling that developing and developed cities have to work together to implement sustainable mobility and to have a real influence on climate change mitigation. He considers that local decision makers and transport community stakeholders have to work together to guarantee the efficacy of their action in terms of development and for fighting climate change.