In the early 1870s, Jules Verne wrote Around the World in Eighty Days. In this book, Phileas Fogg makes a bet that he can travel around the world in eighty days. An unprecedented challenge, yet not impossible. Right on time Fogg completes his journey.
The story is an exploration rather than science fiction. At the end of the nineteenth century, new means of transport (steam trains, steamships) and modern infrastructure (railways and iron bridges) created unprecedented opportunities. Verne shows a new world in a story that capitalises on the opportunities of his time.
That story is our inspiration. We too can create a new world, if we capitalise on the opportunities of our time. The prevention of uncontrollable climate change calls for global agreements on climate adaptation measures and sustainable growth. It requires us to utilise opportunities that are there for the taking today. In the world of transport too.
Climate and transport
The world population is growing, cities are growing, and for increasingly more people the standard of living is rising. Consequently, the demand for food and goods, and the need for mobility are keeping pace. Sustainable economic growth must prevent us from overburdening our living environment and ensure that future generations will have a liveable world too.
Across the globe, transport accounts for nearly one-quarter of all CO2 emissions, and a substantial proportion of the emission of other harmful substances. Moreover, the transport world is one of the most rapidly growing sectors. This means that the environmental impact of transport continues to grow. The good news is that there are also sustainable and climate-friendly transport options. Many good examples already exist that are worth following.
With ambition and action towards climate-friendly transport
The Netherlands is the logistics heart of Europe, with numerous initiatives in the field of climate-friendly transport. With the Rotterdam Climate Initiative, the port of Rotterdam is working on halving its CO2 emission. Quayside electricity has led to a decline in the use of diesel units by the inland shipping sector, and watery cities are experimenting with climate-friendly freight distribution by water. Schiphol Airport is the first international airport to operate electric buses. The Betuwe railway line has replaced a great deal of truck kilometres to the hinterland, and the road transport sector itself is reducing emission levels, among other ways by using cleaner diesel and LNG trucks.
Last year, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment prepared the Fuel Vision together with a broad-based group of stakeholders. In this vision on the future of fuels in goods transport the Ministry sets out the framework for low and zero emissions in traffic and transport. Policy regarding fuel in transport entails operating on a global playing field. That is why this vision focuses on international collaboration and the formation of coalitions. It constitutes an important guideline for the pioneering role the Netherlands intends to assume during the COP 21 in Paris.
Furthermore, bicycling has reached an all-time high in the Netherlands. Rather than giving up their standard bicycle, Dutch citizens tend to switch to, for example, electric bicycles. The Netherlands has also responded well to the electric car. As long as forty years ago, the city of Amsterdam experimented with a form of electric urban transport (the so-called Witkar). The city now accommodates a growing number of electric vehicles – as do many other cities and towns throughout the country – and it offers parking spaces where such vehicles can be recharged.
The government and the business community are supporting this development with subsidies and advantageous schemes for transport costs. Consequently, the Netherlands is an interesting market for manufacturers of electric vehicles. For this reason, Tesla has substantially expanded its presence in the Netherlands. The American brand – along with several other providers – is currently working on a network of rapid-charge stations along motorways in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.
Eighty days of climate action in transport
Dutch transport’s reputation and its climate-friendly initiatives have prompted the UN and France to request the Netherlands to give support
to the Lima Paris Action Agenda for Transport, in the run-up to the Paris climate summit. With a campaign, events and support to the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate as a result. A campaign aimed at collecting – in eighty days before the COP 21 – a wide array of good examples of improving sustainability and reducing emission levels in transport, across the globe. Examples that show that it can be done and that it works!
Fifteen initiatives by globally organised transport sectors constitute the basis for this campaign. With their collective initiatives, these industry organisations, trade unions, and other interest groups will manage to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their joint transport movements by half, between now and 2025.
For this to succeed, the initiatives require the firm support of governments, NGOs, the business community and the public. For this reason, this publication is holding an appeal. A call on governments and stakeholders to remove obstacles. To create favourable conditions, and to show the public that the transport sector means business on climate action.
We collected the most interesting examples from the wide range of actions within the various initiatives, and have published brief descriptions on the www.ppmc-cop21.org website. They will total some one hundred by the time the climate summit commences.
In the publication before you, we travel criss-cross around the world. At each location we will show you several examples of each mode of transport. The six modes of transport have been supplemented with the themes of fuels and infrastructure, as these too allow great gains to be made with a view to a climate-friendly transport sector!