Transport sector "woefully inadequate" in climate change fight, says UN

The transport sector had been “woefully inadequate” so far in taking political action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and develop strategies to benefit the environment, a senior United Nations official has said. Speaking at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that data indicates that emissions from the sector will rise by more than 30 per cent by 2010 when compared to 1990 levels - the highest increase of any sector.

“You have a choice,” he told participants at the forum. “The question is whether you as transport stakeholders are willing to proactively shape the Copenhagen deal [scheduled for next year] or have your policies shaped by it.”

“The transport sector is expected to contribute so much to greenhouse gas emissions in the future that it must play a key role in shaping the global climate change deal which countries have agreed to try to clinch next year,” he added.

Last December in Bali the world’s countries agreed to launch formal negotiations to reach a long-term global agreement on climate change, including detailed measures on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance, by the time of the international conference scheduled for Copenhagen in late 2009.

“All of the current trends in transport fly in the face of what science tells us is required. Developed countries now need to start thinking hard about what short and medium-term sectoral emission reductions they want to commit to in the transport sector, along with what interim targets they want to build in on the way.”

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He suggested the sector consider ambitious carbon dioxide standards for cars, more integrated transport strategies and encouraging emissions trading as potential ways to combat climate change.
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