Transport emissions to double by 2050, IPCC concludes

Without action, global CO2 emissions from transport are projected to double by 2050, the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has concluded. But  ‘aggressive and sustained’ measures, including fuel carbon and energy intensity improvements, as well as infrastructure development can change the trendline and lead to a CO2 reduction of 15-40% instead.

The report’s authors found that transport accounted for 27% of final energy use and 6.7 gigatonnes of CO2 in direct emissions in 2010. 
 
The transport chapter, which is a report accepted by the IPCC working group but not approved in detail, states: ‘Without aggressive and sustained policies (to cut CO2 from cars and trucks), transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than emissions from any other sector.’ But it also concludes that more can be done to reduce transport emissions, and at lower cost, than the previous IPCC report from 2007 thought possible.
 
Commenting on the report, Greg Archer, Transport & Environment’s clean vehicles manager, said: ‘Thanks to EU regulations CO2 emissions from new cars are now falling, but the progress on trucks and vans is glacial. The IPCC report stresses the urgency of taking new initiatives to tackle vehicle emissions, but the European Commission’s response is to repeatedly delay promised strategies to regulate car and van emissions after 2020 and to start addressing soaring emissions from trucks.’
 
The IPCC report confirms that regulations such as Europe’s CO2 standards for cars are very effective in driving down climate-changing emissions. 
 
On fuels, the working group said that the effectiveness of biofuels policies in the EU and US ‘remains uncertain’. However, it found that laws such as the EU Fuel Quality Directive and California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard ‘provide broader, more durable policy frameworks that harness market forces (allowing trading of credits), and provide flexibility to industry in determining how best to reduce fuel carbon intensity.’