Report recommends USD2tr annual spend to address urban population growth and rising emissions.
A UN group has suggested that investment in sustainable transport could lead to global savings of up to USD70tr by 2050.
The independent High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport issued the global sustainable transport outlook report, Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development, ahead of the COP22 Conference in Marrakech, Morocco in November. The paper includes ten recommendations (see right) for how governments, businesses and citizens should redirect resources in the transport sector to advance sustainable development.
Specifically in the urban context, the report references the New Climate Economy Report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate that suggests that “more compact and connected urban development, built around mass transport, can create cities that are economically dynamic and healthier and that have lower emissions.” It also suggests that such an approach could reduce urban infrastructure capital requirements by more than USD3tr over the next 15 years with savings from costs associated with sprawl – expanded public services over larger areas, infrastructure to facilitate longer commuting distances, higher crash and pollution rates, and lower resource productivity rates. These are avoided with compact urban models.
The High-Level Advisory Group was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in August 2014 to work with governments, transport providers, businesses, financial institutions, civil society and other stakeholders to promote sustainable transport systems and their integration into development strategies in relation to climate change. The new report examines global trends, including urbanisation, demographic shifts and globalisation, as well as technological progress in digital connectivity and propulsion solutions in the promotion of economic growth and bolstering the fight against climate change.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will convene the first UN global conference on sustainable transport on 26-27 November in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development suggests that global, national and local transport are held back by inefficiencies and a lack of investment and that financing sustainable transport could lead to fuel savings and lower operational costs, decreased congestion and reduced air pollution, as well as savings of up to USD70tr by 2050.
The report includes some further startling statistics. Transport is responsible for 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and by 2050 the world’s urban population is expected to have grown by 2.5 billion or around two-thirds of total global population.
Suggesting a ‘redirection’ of funding to sustainable solutions through annual investments of around USD2tr are recommended to deliver transformational change; ‘business as usual’ current spending on transport totals USD1.4-2.1tr.
Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo and co-chair of the High-Level Group, said: “We need bold innovation and a true partnership among governments, civil society and the private sector.”