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Transport Officials from 21 Countries Agree to Promote Lower CO2 Emissions in Sector

Reuters. Transportation officials from 21 countries attending the Ministerial Conference on Global Environment and Energy in Transport (MEET) on January 14-16, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan, agreed to promote the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the sector to combat climate change.

Trends in Transport CO2 Emissions 1980-2030. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.

Participating countries included the G8 member countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States); Australia; India; Korea; and ASEAN member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). China was scheduled to participate, but withdrew before the conference began.

The global transport sector in the world emitted 6.45 Gt in 2006, representing 23% of total CO2 emissions, according to data provided by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), which hosted MEET. Of the 6.45 Gt, MEET participating countries (including China) were responsible for 59%, or 3.83 Gt. With allocated emissions from international aviation and maritime shipping, the MEET Conference (again, with China) covered 75% of all transport CO2 emissions.

According to IEA estimates, the worldwide transport CO2 emissions will increase by 1.4 times to 8.9 Gt by 2030, with transport CO2 emissions from developing countries doubling in the next quarter century.

“It is quite important to send a message that we have the political will (to address the transport sector),” [Japanese transport minister Kazuyoshi] Kaneko told a news conference at the end of the gathering. Despite concerns among many developing countries that efforts to fight climate change will undermine economic growth, the officials agreed they could seek a low-carbon, low-pollution future for the transport sector while ensuring sustainable growth.

The ministerial statement said the countries recognize the need for the transport sector to act on CO2 emissions and air pollutants, which would also result in energy savings as well as health and safety benefits.

In an address at the conference, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said that “It is clear that a global deal on transport and climate change needs to be an integral part of the UNFCCC process, with all its 192 Parties.”

The signal we have heard from the scientific community is crystal clear: global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak over the next 10 to 15 years and drop by at least 50% against 2000 levels by the middle of the century in order to stabilize global mean temperature increases around 2-2.4 °C. For industrialized countries this means reductions by 2020 between 25 and 40% against 1990 levels. All of the current trends in transport fly in the face of what science tells us is required. Present political action in the transport sector is woefully inadequate.

...Transport industries should no longer find themselves in the position of beggars for billions of tax payer’s dollars. Instead, they need to come back into pole position of drivers of economic growth, through the production of smart and efficient cars, trains, ships and planes.

There is simply no alternative to facing up to the inevitable changes that lie ahead. Climate change is already altering the face of the planet we live on...Disenchantment at the end of the road is not an option.

—Yvo de Boer



"Disenchantment at the end of the road is not an option."

Nor is bad poetry.

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