Transport in Nationally Determined Contributions

In this time of global emergency, we are reminded that it is more important than ever for countries to set ambitious goals and roadmaps to tackle global warming, working together to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 °C, reducing and avoiding some of the most devastating impacts to our planet and people.

The transport sector’s global emissions are heading in the wrong direction, accounting for the fastest-growing source of emissions around the world. We must change this trend now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underlines that a pathway for transport which contributes to maintaining global temperature rise below 1.5ºC is possible. However, the transformation of our mobility and transport systems for an equitable 1.5ºC Planet must be prioritised in policy, regulatory and fiscal frameworks.

As we collectively work to update and raise ambition in the next generation of Nationally Determined Contributions (or NDCs – efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), we would like to share a set of key recommendations for ways countries can scale up transport ambition in their NDCs. 

Let’s use this moment to alter business as usual for good, and create new pathways to an equitable, climate-friendly and resilient present and future!

In this time of global emergency, we are reminded that it is more important than ever for countries to set ambitious goals and roadmaps to tackle global warming, working together to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 °C, reducing and avoiding some of the most devastating impacts to our planet and people.

The transport sector’s global emissions are heading in the wrong direction, accounting for the fastest-growing source of emissions around the world. We must change this trend now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underlines that a pathway for transport which contributes to maintaining global temperature rise below 1.5ºC is possible. However, the transformation of our mobility and transport systems for an equitable 1.5ºC Planet must be prioritised in policy, regulatory and fiscal frameworks.

As we collectively work to update and raise ambition in the next generation of Nationally Determined Contributions (or NDCs – efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), we would like to share a set of key recommendations for ways countries can scale up transport ambition in their NDCs. 

Let’s use this moment to alter business as usual for good, and create new pathways to an equitable, climate-friendly and resilient present and future!

Ten Recommendations to Raise Ambition for Transport in NDCs

It was in 2015 when countries first submitted their NDCs. Of the 166 NDC submissions representing 193 countries, 76% highlighted the transport sector as a mitigation source, but only 8% included transport-specific greenhouse gas mitigation targets.

In terms of Avoid-Shift-Improve strategies, the majority (65%) of mitigation measures mentioned in NDCs represented ‘Improve’ strategies, while only 28% represented ‘Shift’ and 7% represented ‘Avoid’. Only 16% of NDCs included transport adaptation. NDCs also tended to focus more on passenger transport, and less than a quarter referenced freight transport. Read more about transport in the first generation of NDCs here.

The level of ambition for transport needs to drastically increase in this second generation of NDCs. 

Include specific transport sector carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation targets supported by sustainable transport measures

Engage different actors – work with cities and regions, companies, civil society and academia to develop robust and implementable transport targets

Maximise combined transport, climate and sustainability impacts – Use your NDC to align and integrate sustainable low carbon transport strategies with your Paris Agreement Long-Term Strategy and wider sustainable development priorities

Incorporate Avoid, Shift, and Improve strategies to reduce the negative environmental impact of transport and increase equitable access

Shift financing and investment towards low carbon and resilient transport priorities, while making plans to eliminate transport sector fossil fuel subsidies and working to phase out internal combustion engines by the earliest date possible

Integrate urban, transport and land use planning policies and tools to support the achievement of your transport targets

Set goals and plans for the adaptation and resilience of transport systems

Accelerate electrification – Include goals on increasing electrification of buses, cars, vans, and two and three-wheelers; and accompany this with low carbon electricity supply and advanced grid integration

Address freight transport emissions, which account for 40% of energy use in the transport sector

Include goals on aviation and maritime transport – two of the fastest growing sectors

2020 NDC Tracker

The Paris Agreement calls on countries to deliver new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) every five years that are informed by the latest advances in technology, science and shifting economic trends.

Additional Resources

Shared Database for Transport in NDCs

This file includes supporting case studies and resources by recommendation and is continuously being updated. Feel free to contribute!

Enhancing Climate Ambition in Transport

Six Action Recommendations for Policymakers to Align Transport with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Agenda

Enhancing NDCs: Opportunities in Transport

This aims to help countries incorporate ambitious, relevant, and tangible transportation solutions into enhanced NDCs 

Supporting Organisations

The recommendations have been compiled by the SLOCAT Partnership in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)‘s Changing Transport, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), following an open consultation with additional contributions from: Alstom, the Climate Group, IDDRI, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the International Union of Railways (UIC), and Walk 21.

In collaboration with:

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With contributions from:

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SLOCAT’s work on this campaign is supported by:

The recommendations have been compiled by the SLOCAT Partnership in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)‘s Changing Transport, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), following an open consultation with additional contributions from: Alstom, the Climate Group, IDDRI, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the International Union of Railways (UIC), and Walk 21.

In collaboration with:

 : Brand Short Description Type Here.
 : Brand Short Description Type Here.
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 : Brand Short Description Type Here.

With contributions from:

 : Brand Short Description Type Here.
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 : Brand Short Description Type Here.
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Endorsed by:

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 : Brand Short Description Type Here.
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SLOCAT’s work on this campaign is supported by: