Transport Ministers participating in the International Transport Forum (ITF) Annual Summit agreed in their Declaration from Ministers on Transport, Trade and Tourism on the value of pursuing low-carbon transport towards COP21.

Specifically, they

“Recognize that the new international climate agreement, which is to be forged and agreed by COP21, should encourage mainstreaming of low carbon transport in global policies on climate change and sustainable development.”

ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and the leading global platform for dialogue on transport policy. This declaration was delivered on day two of the ITF annual conference (28-29 May, Leipzig, Germany) which saw 1,045 participants from 66 countries along with three dozen ministers and vice-ministers.

Company CEOs, transport initiative leaders and government representatives discussed strategies and innovations to mitigate transport-related climate change impacts related to trade and tourism during this session. Ministers from the EU, France, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and others shared detailed and ambitious plans on transport advancing climate action.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the ITF by heralding contributions of transport actors to climate solutions, including those announced at the 2014 Climate Summit. In his video address to the Forum participants the Secretary-General challenged the transport sector to “reshape the world’s transport systems for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future” and called on participants to “be a champion within (their) industry and urge others to commit to a new sustainable transport future.”
  • In 2012 the transport sector was responsible for nearly 23 per cent of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion
  • Transport is also the largest energy consuming sector in 40 per cent of countries worldwide.
  • In most remaining countries, transport is the second largest energy consuming sector. This is expected to increase under a ‘business as usual’ scenario by nearly 50 per cent by 2030 and more than 80 per cent by 2050. *Source: International Energy Agency statistics
The ITF – an intergovernmental organisation with 54 member countries – took efforts to integrate climate change into this year’s theme of Transport, trade and tourism and welcomed multiple opportunities to advance the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. The Agenda, initiated by the Peruvian Presidency of COP20/CMP10, the French Presidency of COP21/CMP11, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat have teamed up to catalyze action on climate change, including on transport, in order to increase ambition before 2020 and support the 2015 agreement.

Four transport initiatives that delivered announcements to the Secretary-General’s 2014 Climate Summit made interventions at the ITF Open Ministerial session. These include the International Organisation for Public Transport (UITP), which garnered over 350 commitments for the Summit in support of the organization’s pledge to double public transport by 2025. UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch called on Ministers to “be bold, be brave, listen to civil society and invest in public transport.”

The International Union of Railways (UIC) Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux called on Governments to do their part to support the rail partners’ commitment at the Summit on three enumerated targets related to energy consumption, greenhouse gas reductions, and increase in rail share of transport. UIC will also lead a “Train to Paris” campaign, whereby 12 trains from 12 capitals that will raise awareness and directly illustrate the fundamental role of rail to help address climate change.

Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) Director Sheila Watson announced at the ITF their 50by50 campaign – to reduce average fuel use 50 percent by 2050 in 100 countries and Global Green Freight Action Plan, Director Sophie Piunte, elucidated the value to the sector and companies in harmonized freight programmes and called on Ministers to join the initiatives current 30 partners including the US, Mexico, South Korea, and Netherlands.

Other transport initiatives such as the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) has launched the World Cycling Alliance (WCA), World Road Association (PIARC), and Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) also seized opportunities to share progress and welcome support.

The Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), initiated by Michelin Challenge Bibendum and the SLoCaT Partnership, was also launched at the ITF. The PPMC aims to raise the profile of sustainable mobility in the discussions leading up to, during, and beyond COP21 in Paris. “If we can help to realize a Global Agreement on Climate Change that empowers transport sector to take action on climate change, we will have succeeded”, says Cornie Huizenga, Secretary General of SLoCaT. Michelin’s Senior Vice-President, Patrick Oliva, in charge of Sustainable Mobility and Energy Transition, called on other groups and organizations to join the PPMC. Among its efforts, it will be a critical partner to the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and will host Transport Day at COP21.

Viable options however – both technological and policy-driven – were evidenced throughout the ITF, often with a simultaneous focus on reducing emissions and improving people’s lives.