Transport

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 6 July 2018

What's changed?

More efforts needed

Global transport emissions grew by only 0.6% in 2017 (compared to 1.7% annually over the past decade), as efficiency improvements, electrification and biofuels helped limit the growth in energy demand. To meet the SDS goals, direct transport emissions must peak around 2020 and then fall by more than 9% by 2030.


Transport sector CO2 emissions

Emissions from transport need to peak around 2020 to meet the SDS goals.

	Total	Other	Rail	Shipping	Aviation	Road freight vehicles	Passenger road vehicles
2000	5.742	0.138	0.100	0.612	0.675	1.600	2.617
2001	5.771	0.139	0.097	0.587	0.658	1.619	2.671
2002	5.909	0.145	0.100	0.603	0.665	1.648	2.749
2003	6.041	0.150	0.105	0.621	0.661	1.703	2.801
2004	6.315	0.158	0.110	0.669	0.704	1.785	2.888
2005	6.447	0.161	0.116	0.691	0.730	1.830	2.919
2006	6.592	0.161	0.120	0.738	0.739	1.878	2.957
2007	6.797	0.172	0.118	0.776	0.757	1.950	3.023
2008	6.808	0.173	0.109	0.765	0.748	1.974	3.039
2009	6.676	0.148	0.095	0.737	0.710	1.956	3.028
2010	6.960	0.158	0.098	0.785	0.747	2.041	3.132
2011	7.077	0.161	0.109	0.791	0.768	2.093	3.156
2012	7.203	0.150	0.110	0.755	0.779	2.182	3.227
2013	7.340	0.158	0.106	0.761	0.797	2.210	3.308
2014	7.486	0.159	0.103	0.781	0.822	2.263	3.358
2015	7.682	0.159	0.100	0.799	0.861	2.291	3.472
2016	7.763	0.162	0.101	0.819	0.875	2.294	3.513
2025	7.632	0.151	0.070	0.811	0.825	2.299	3.476
2030	7.129	0.148	0.060	0.803	0.778	2.175	3.166
            
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Note: Other includes pipeline and non-specified transport.

The transport sector has entered a critical transition period where existing measures to increase efficiency and reduce energy demand must be deepened and extended in order to reach the SDS goals.

This process will need to be set in motion over the next decade. Any delay would require stricter measures beyond 2030, which could noticeably increase the cost of reaching the climate targets. As a result, combined efforts across the transport modes, accompanied by power sector decarbonisation, would play a crucial role for achieving SDS goals.

Transportation was responsible for 24% of direct CO2 emissions in 2017. Road vehicles – cars, trucks, buses and two-wheelers – accounted for 77% of both global final energy demand and CO2 emissions attributable to the transport sector as a whole. Car buyers continue to choose bigger, heavier vehicles, not only in the United States but increasingly in Europe and Asia too. In Europe, this has led to a rise in the average new car CO2 emissions in 2017.

Despite the growth in energy demand and emissions from aviation and shipping, as well as the continued electrification of rail services, road modes’ shares of energy and emissions have remained relatively stable since the turn of the century.


Transport sector energy intensity

Energy intensity will need to improve more than twice as fast as it has since the year 2000 to meet SDS goals by 2030.

	North America	Central & South America	Middle East	Global	Eurasia	Africa	Other Asia Pacific	Europe	China	India
2000	0.301	0.172	0.185	0.216	0.163	0.131	0.153	0.144	0.133	0.087
2001	0.299	0.170	0.193	0.212	0.159	0.129	0.154	0.143	0.126	0.083
2002	0.297	0.170	0.200	0.211	0.153	0.128	0.152	0.143	0.124	0.083
2003	0.296	0.166	0.183	0.208	0.146	0.126	0.149	0.142	0.128	0.078
2004	0.291	0.167	0.178	0.206	0.142	0.126	0.146	0.141	0.135	0.078
2005	0.285	0.164	0.184	0.202	0.133	0.123	0.138	0.138	0.131	0.076
2006	0.279	0.157	0.184	0.196	0.130	0.119	0.131	0.136	0.127	0.073
2007	0.277	0.157	0.181	0.193	0.120	0.120	0.129	0.134	0.121	0.078
2008	0.268	0.160	0.184	0.188	0.123	0.120	0.126	0.131	0.120	0.086
2009	0.265	0.162	0.192	0.187	0.131	0.123	0.131	0.134	0.114	0.087
2010	0.266	0.165	0.188	0.186	0.128	0.126	0.128	0.130	0.114	0.085
2011	0.259	0.166	0.181	0.182	0.128	0.129	0.128	0.126	0.114	0.086
2012	0.260	0.173	0.186	0.180	0.123	0.128	0.128	0.123	0.116	0.086
2013	0.255	0.169	0.190	0.177	0.122	0.129	0.129	0.122	0.116	0.083
2014	0.254	0.174	0.188	0.175	0.123	0.129	0.124	0.121	0.113	0.081
2015	0.252	0.175	0.183	0.174	0.124	0.127	0.123	0.121	0.114	0.082
2016	0.249	0.177	0.170	0.171	0.129	0.127	0.123	0.121	0.106	0.082
2020	0.229	0.171	0.163	0.153	0.122	0.116	0.109	0.106	0.097	0.072
2025	0.191	0.158	0.151	0.130	0.112	0.103	0.092	0.089	0.086	0.064
2030	0.157	0.137	0.130	0.108	0.098	0.089	0.077	0.073	0.072	0.057
            
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Note: Global transport GDP intensity is measured as transport final energy consumption per unit of gross global product. National Transport GDP intensity is measured in the same way, but per unit of gross domestic product.

Global transport GDP intensity fell by 2.1% in 2017 after falling 1.5% per year on average between 2000 and 2017. However, to put transport efficiency on track to meet the SDS goals, this rate of progress must more than double to an annual average of 3.4% by 2030.

Transport policies for meeting the SDS goals

An integrated, coherent and coordinated set of policies is required to put the transport sector on track to meet the SDS goals. Measures at various levels of jurisdiction – including within multi-country regional blocs, at the national level and within cities – must spur progress on:

  • The management of travel demand to reduce the frequency, distance, and dependence on car trips and to shift travel to the most efficient modes (“avoid/shift”)
  • Improvements in the energy efficiency (or equivalently fuel economy) of vehicles
  • Increasing the availability and use of low carbon fuels.

In addition to CO2 emissions, the SDS also targets air quality improvements. The adoption of cleaner fuels, together with the roll-out tighter emissions control standards on vehicles, can help achieve better outdoor air quality in cities of the developing and developed world alike.

Fiscal policies can spur progress on both fronts. Taxes on fuels that incorporate the monetary costs of the societal and environmental damage incurred by burning them lead to different choices for passenger and freight mobility. For example, people may reduce or chain for discretionary car trips, drive more efficiently, or chose alternative modes or not to take trips at all. Reducing or phasing out subsidies (implicit or explicit) on transport fuels also contributes to these shifts.

Taxing at the point of vehicle purchase and/or circulation can also encourage similar outcomes. Differentiated taxation schemes can incentivize people to purchase and drive cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars. Ideally, these taxation schedules should directly target performance outcomes, including CO2 or local pollutant emissions.

Sustainable transport policies in cities

Examples of recent policy instruments promoting sustainable mobility alternatives to car travel in major cities.

Figure showing examples of sustainable transport policies in cities around the world.

A wide range of measures are available to improve the sustainability of transport in cities. These fall into three categories:

  • Travel demand management (TDM) policies, both fiscal (e.g. congestion and parking pricing) and regulatory (e.g. zero‐emission zones)
  • Policies altering urban form and promoting densification, including mixed- and transit-oriented development and multicentric city form, to reduce trip frequencies and distances
  • Investment in public and non‐motorised transport, including maintenance, improvements and extensions to public transit networks, passenger fare subsidies, and build out and improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure.

Figure sources: Grisolía, López and Ortúzar (2015); Holman, Harrison and Querol (2015); IEA, (2016); Mingardo, van Wee and Rye (2015); Pojani and Stead (2015); Ricci (2015); Salleh, Rahmat and Ismail (2015); Wang, Sperling, Tal and Fang (2017); Willson (2016).


Are transport technologies on track?

The number of electric light-duty vehicles on the road passed the 3 million mark and this continues to be the only transport technology on track. Despite efforts to move away from the internal combustion engine, however, consumer preferences for larger, heavier vehicles intensified in 2017, offsetting improvements in fuel economy standards.


Electric vehicles

2017 witnessed record global sales of electric cars (1.1 million), leading to a global stock of over 3 million. Global sales increased 54% in 2017, helping EVs remain on track to reach the SDS target. China accounted for nearly half of electric car sales, with Norway having the highest per capita ownership.

Read more about electric vehicles
	Electric cars share
2000	0
2001	0
2002	0
2003	0
2004	0
2005	0
2006	0
2007	0
2008	0
2009	0
2010	0
2011	0
2012	0
2013	0
2014	0
2015	0.1
2016	0.2
2017	0.3
2020	0.9
2025	5.0
2030	14.0
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Fuel economy of cars & vans

Fuel economy standards delivered a 1.5% annual average decline in consumption per kilometre by new cars and vans between 2005 and 2015. To get on track with the 2030 SDS target, which aligns with the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) target, annual improvements of 3.6% are needed. Global coverage of fuel economy standards for both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles has increased dramatically over the past decade, but coverage of trucks and buses lags significantly.

Read more about fuel economy
	  Historical	GFEI Target
2005	8.766253281	
2006	8.614817114	
2007	8.463380947	
2008	8.311944779	
2009	8.182231163	
2010	8.052517547	
2011	7.984018	
2012	7.841190933	
2013	7.763575018	
2014	7.637084844	
2015	7.556819738	
2025		5.44102434
2030		4.38
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Trucks & buses

Emissions have grown faster for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) than for any other transport mode – 2.4% annually since 2000. On a positive note, more countries are implementing new fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards for HDVs. New policies in India and the European Union, for example, will increase policy coverage from 42% of new sales in 2017 to an estimated 57% in 2018. That said, overall policy coverage for HDVs lags behind light-duty vehicles.

Read more about trucks and buses
	Emissions
2000	1.406488631
2001	1.421927855
2002	1.449428096
2003	1.505445223
2004	1.580226749
2005	1.621595501
2006	1.671815659
2007	1.757169759
2008	1.795716453
2009	1.781466052
2010	1.860988796
2011	1.913533158
2012	2.00423993
2013	2.028399442
2014	2.088071613
2015	2.116907758
2016	2.100789087
2025	2.160846217
2030	2.095837857
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Transport biofuels

Production of transport biofuels grew by just 2% in 2017. To achieve the 2030 SDS target, use of biofuels needs to triple, driven by cost reductions of advanced biofuels, widespread sustainability governance and more adoption in aviation and marine transport.

Read more about biofuels for transport
	Historical	Forecast	SDS Targets
2010	59.33290341
2011	62.0894239
2012	64.26841502
2013	69.9448266
2014	75.88922327
2015	76.28403554
2016	79.35153339
2017	80.80395529
2018		83.34766409
2019		88.41430209
2020		92.74935512
2021		92.13456578
2022		93.59486959
2023		95.38478074
2025			200.35
2030			284.44
      
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Aviation

Both global passenger and freight activity have more than doubled since 2000, and demand for air travel is expected to remain strong in the future To put aviation on track with the 2030 SDS target, an annual decrease of over 3% in energy intensity is necessary.

Read more about aviation
	Energy intensity, international aviation	ICAO goal (2% annual improvement)	SDS Targets
2000			
2001			
2002	9.467968763		
2003	9.288442099		
2004	8.738773809		
2005	8.619649893		
2006	8.279815801		
2007	7.751052872		
2008	7.660284503		
2009	7.496746		
2010	7.108440832		
2011	6.910234775		
2012	6.688033809		
2013	6.510096814		
2014	6.31182476		
2015	6.215316008	6.215316008	6.215316008
2020		5.618153399	5.21420592
2025		5.078365697	4.451963139
2030		4.590440367	3.784867315
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International shipping

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted in April 2018 an agreement that aims to reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with a 2008 baseline. The agreement also includes carbon intensity reduction targets for 2030 and 2050. As the first global climate framework for shipping, this is an historical milestone to facilitate the transition of international shipping towards clean energy and increased sustainability.

Read more about international shipping
	International marine bunkers	   IMO target
2000	489.63	
2001	464.18	
2002	481.01	
2003	489.65	
2004	539.37	
2005	558.81	
2006	595.93	
2007	631.10	
2008	633.97	
2009	601.79	
2010	649.25	
2011	653.77	
2012	591.09	
2013	598.56	
2014	615.96	
2015	641.97	
2050		316.99
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Rail

The build-out of urban and suburban rail infrastructure, including metro-, light- and commuter-rail as well as high-speed rail, progressed rapidly in recent years, especially in China, India and other emerging Asian economies. Across both passenger and freight rail, efficiency improvements (per km travelled) of 2% are needed to achieve the SDS target.

Read more about rail
	Share of railway CO2 emissions
China	43.8
United States	12.3
Russia	10.4
European Union	8
India	7.7
Rest of world	17.8
    
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Updates to this page

  • 6 July, 2018: Added sections on transport policies and policies in cities.

References

  1. Grisolía, J. M., López, F. and Ortúzar, J. de D. (2015), “Increasing the acceptability of a congestion charging scheme,” Transport Policy, Vol. 39, pp. 37–47, Elsevier, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2015.01.003.
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