Why the world needs to decarbonise transport now

Ricardo is a Business Reporter client

The world depends on transportation by land, sea and air. However, it poses some of our most pressing economic, environmental and social development challenges.

Moving people and goods accounts for one-quarter of global energy use, and the demand for energy from this sector is continuing to grow. This is due mainly to the increasing number and size of vehicles on our roads: more than 1.42 billion are currently in use, with an expected two billion by 2040. Road vehicles, most still powered by fossil fuels, account for nearly 75 per cent of total transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions from aviation and shipping are also projected to sail upwards between now and 2050. Flying contributes 12 per cent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, while the marine sector, if it were a country, would be ranked between Germany and Japan as the sixth-largest source.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has demanded that action to curb emissions must happen now. Industry must ramp up the rate at which it develops the new technologies needed to decarbonise every sector of the economy, while lobbying governments to support the introduction of these technologies.

The transport sector has a critical role to play if the ambition of net zero by 2050 is to be achieved. Without aggressive and sustained reduction policies, transport emissions could increase at a faster rate than those from other sectors. This would threaten the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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The challenge is clear: the timeframe for action is shrinking.

Reducing transport emissions requires the development of low-emission alternative fuel sources, including advanced biofuels, electricity, hydrogen and renewable synthetic fuels; investment in the electrification of transport systems; and the promotion of cleaner modes of transportation, including public transit and cycling.

Ricardo, a global environment, engineering and strategic consulting company, uniquely operates at the intersection between environment, energy and transport. The company’s expertise in policy, strategy and technology innovation is trusted by organisations around the world seeking solutions to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The company has been doing substantial work in decarbonising transport across land, sea and air. ‘We’re pleased to be making a difference and supporting innovation and implementation,’ says Sujith Kollamthodi, Ricardo’s Director of Strategy and Innovation. ‘From hydrogen-powered aircraft to solar-powered trains, we’re focused on designing solutions that enable mobility to continue to grow and support economic aspirations, while recognising it fundamentally has to be done differently if we are to limit the impacts of climate change.’

We may not be fully able to reverse the impact of the fossil fuel age within our lifetime. But with sustainable mobility solutions, we can correct the course of environmental change and improve the quality of life for the next generation.

Originally published on Business Reporter


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