Dream Big, Act Big on Transport
In recent years, the middle Sunday at COP summits have been used for Transport Day, a stimulating and varied mixture of expert input, shared experience including from national delegates. This year was no different. In the beautiful setting of the Es Saadi hotel in central Marrakech nearly two hundred people participated in a series of plenary talks, side events and discussions.
The key message of transport day was that progress is being made, but that far more needs to be done if there is any chance of restricting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees centigrade. As Cornie Huizinga of SLoCaT said in his introduction to the day, there is a need to dream big and continue to press towards more ambitious goals. Holger Dalkmann of WRI, speaking next emphasised that this meant an imperative for action – a need to both ‘Dream Big and Act Big’. Patrick Oliva of Michelin said ‘We have enough knowledge to know what we need to do – now we need to do it’, emphasising the need for transport, energy and finance to work together.
The Global Fuel Economy Initiative was featured in breakout sessions. The first, focused specifically on fuel economy progress globally shared the latest data and trends with participants. Lew Fulton outlined the latest analysis from GFEI’s working paper series, including fuel economy trends globally (Working Paper 12 by the IEA), the potential for fuel economy improvements in heavy duty vehicles (Working Paper 13 by ICCT) and detailed analysis of trends in electric vehicle markets to explore the potential growth paths (Working Paper 14 by UC Davis). Sheila Watson shared the in-country progress that is being made as a response to GFEI’s 100 for 50by50 campaign, with over 40 new countries joining and committing action in the past year. She highlighted GFEI’s new COP22 update report summarising this progress and future plans including a special focus on Africa in 2017 including a regional gathering.
The second breakout session included a panel discussion on energy and the potential of electric transport to offer clean and low carbon mobility. Rana Adib, the Research Coordinator of REN21 challenged the transport sector to talk to and work with energy experts. Sheila Watson highlighted both the potential of electric vehicles, but offered a reality check about the challenges involved in such a transition – including the need to ensure that these vehicles are aspirational and currently global markets for EVs show many diverse characteristics. The subsequent discussion included a question about how to translate words into real actions, given as well the need for air quality improvements. Here the rapid growth of electric two-wheelers in China potentially offers lessons and an example for others.
See the 'Why should the transport sector look to renewables?' presentation here.
See the 'The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI)' presentation here.