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To prevent catastrophic climate change, reduce trips, says UN and business-backed body

Lee Baker
15 May 2017
Cycling networks in Cape Town is an example of a policy cited as one that needs to be replicated widely
Cycling networks in Cape Town is an example of a policy cited as one that needs to be replicated widely


To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius will require "policies to avoid unwanted or unnecessary trips" and not simply a technological shift, according to a UN- and business- backed organisation.

The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport, whose members include the UN Development Programme, World Bank and the Ford Foundation along with a string of university transport departments, penned the article on the Citiscope website after the new French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to fight climate change. Its authors, including the partnership's secretary general Cornie Huizenga, say that the transport sector needs to de-carbonise soon after 2050 in advanced nations,and that electric vehicles and ride-hailing will "not ensure access for all to the benefits of urban living or ensure that transport contributes to the 1.5 degree Celsisus target".

The article argues that "education, housing, health and planning will determine the long-term scale and demand of transport demand," and on transport policies urges an embracing of a so-called "avoid, shift, improve" framework, with private vehicle restrictions in Shanghai, Metro Bus in Mexico City and cycle networks in Cape Town and electric vehicles in Norway to avoid journeys, shift them to other, lower carbon modes or else to improve their contribution to emissions.

A new body called the Transport Decarbonising Alliance will provide what they see as "a progressive voice" which "has been missing," to make examples of concerted action the norm, including by setting targets for de-carbonising for 2020, 2030 and 2050.

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