Event at COP28

COP28 Presidency Land Transport Roundtable

Achieving Systemic Transformation at the Required Speed and Scale

6 December 2023  I 13:00-14:30 I Al Saih Roundtable, Blue Zone  I  Programme

Organised by: COP28 Presidency 

Delivery Partner: SLOCAT Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport

Drastic reductions in transport emissions and improved access to integrated transport systems worldwide are urgently required to achieve decarbonised pathways. As the laggard among sectors, transport had the highest increase in global emissions. The sector has experienced the fastest growth in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions among combustion sectors, with global transport emissions rising 2% annually and 18% overall in the decade from 2010 to 2019. The single largest source of transport emissions continues to be passenger road transport (47%). Despite increasing electric mobility and global renewables uptake, the transport sector continues to depend heavily on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels continued to account for nearly all (96%) of energy used in transport in 2021 – a share that has barely changed over the past decade, due mainly to rising transport demand. 

Wide-ranging challenges have put the already-elusive progress towards the SDGs and the Paris Agreement at increased risk. Although countries have made progress in developing long-term climate visions, current transport policies and measures are insufficient to put transport on a decarbonisation pathway in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming within 1.5°C. Without more ambitious policies towards structural and systemic transformation, transport emissions could grow as much as 50% by 2050. Achieving transport pathways that limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) will require a 59% reduction in global transport CO₂ emissions by 2050, compared to 2020 levels. Overall, the carbon intensity of the energy used in transport, and of the fuels consumed, needs to be halved by 2050, with the greatest cuts required in land transport.

At the same time, climate change greatly increases the vulnerability of populations as well as transport systems. Beyond the often heavy human toll, extreme weather events can also have severe impacts on transport-related infrastructure. More than a quarter of the world’s road and rail assets are exposed to at least one cyclone, earthquake or flooding hazard annually. Ports are even more exposed to climatic events, with estimates indicating that 86% of ports globally are exposed to three or more hazards per year. Natural hazards contribute to huge financial losses, leading to an estimated USD 15 billion annually in direct damage to transport systems worldwide. Of this damage, an estimated USD 8 billion occurs in low- and middle-income countries, which experience the highest costs relative to their GDP. 

To address this reality, systemic transformations are urgently needed globally in how people and goods are transported. Collective, active and electrified transport is key for a more equitable, accessible, healthy, green, sustainable and resilient transport future.

The roundtable aims to:

  • Investigate the current challenges faced by a range of actors in the transport sector, with a focus on Low- and Middle-Income Countries. 
  • Showcase multi-stakeholder actions taken for a systemic transformation towards sustainable, low carbon transport.