Findings

  • NDCs provide CO2 reduction ambitions, but not yet clear pathways or measures to reach ambitions set by the Paris agreement. Often, measures in the NDCs are desired outcomes and remain vague at the best. In some cases, the mitigation potential of identified “measures” is contestable.
  • Results of the assessment show that the estimated ‘NDC scenario’ projects global national-level CO2 emissions in 2030 to attain a similar as in 2015 (reflecting a reduction of CO2 emissions of around 1400 MT CO2 compared to a baseline scenario). However, achieving a two-degree scenario (2DS) would require further reductions of around 600 MT CO2. To attain the level of the low-carbon scenario (a scenario that results from the combination of the most optimistic scenario from all modes and points to a lower bound for CO2 emissions with currently foreseen technology and mode choice trajectories) further reductions of around 800 MT CO2 would be required.
  • Results by region show that especially Asian, upper-middle income countries, are planning to exploit most of the currently foreseeable transport CO2 reduction potential (as per the low-carbon scenario). Other regions appear to leave some of the CO2 mitigation potential unused up to 2030. The transport ambitions for CO2 reductions of such countries especially need to be intensified to ensure that the “Well-below 2 degree” ambition, as defined at COP21 in Paris in 2015, can be achieved.

Types of economy-wide mitigation targets defined by Parties in their (I)NDCs / *Note: (100% = 193 Parties)

Recommendations

1. Move from ambitions to concrete actions for the transport sector: The 2016 Paris climate agreement must still be translated into concrete actions for the transport sector. A wide range of policy levers are needed to reduce transport emissions and understanding their effectiveness is crucial. This means continued research on the effectiveness of mitigation measures. ITF’s Decarbonising Transport project aims to help stakeholders identify effective measures by assessing them under a coherent framework. This will help countries to transform their ambitions to actions.

2. Keep track of transport pledges in NDCs after each revision cycle: To understand whether national climate actions have increased, it is important to keep track of further revisions of the Nationally Determined Contributions, especially in comparison with the ambitions set out in the Paris climate agreement. Tracking national plans for CO2 reduction ambitions specific to the transport sector will also help to decrease uncertainty over future CO2 emissions of the sector.

Explore more in the following report: