Bonn Climate conference

November 17 2017  

Bonn Climate conference
Justin Ward, Senior Policy Officer CIHT provides views on the UN Climate Change Conference that has taken place from 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany where negotiators from 200 countries have met in the biggest climate change talks of the year.
There is a strong argument emerging from COP23 (the informal name for the 23rd Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) that transport should feature near to the top of the global policy agenda. The actions of the transport sector and the road sector in particular can play a pivotal role in addressing mitigation action around climate change.
Climate change is threatening vital infrastructure such as road and rail networks, bridges and embedded utility systems. Transport contributes 20% of global CO2 emissions, 60% of global oil consumption and 27% of all energy use. It took 100 years for the global population of cars to reach one billion. It is forecast that by 2030, that figure will exceed two billion.
Contribution of transport
The transport sector can contribute positively in reducing emissions and improving peoples’ health.  The shift from personal mobility to mobility-as-a-service brought about by technology change, public transport and smart ticketing provides opportunities of reducing emissions.  Electrification and automation can also help deliver low carbon transport and therefore improve air quality.
More active travel, public transport use and cleaner transport all contribute positively to the health of people. The health effects of urban air pollution alone are estimated to cost more than 5% of the GDP in developing countries. The economic cost of air pollution from road transport in OECD countries, measured in terms of lives lost and ill health, is estimated at US$1 trillion. The costs of respiratory ailments and other diseases due to vehicle-related air pollution can be 2–4% of GDP. Urban outdoor air pollution causes 3.7 million premature deaths per year worldwide.
Delivering for people
Over the next 30 years, most of the world’s population growth will occur in cities. 70% of the global population will live in cities by 2050.  The city populations of emerging economies are expected to double between 2000 and 2030, from 2 billion to 4 billion people. Growth in cities should be seen as an opportunity and transport plays a significant role in how cities are developed. A city is not a set of buildings and infrastructure:  Cities are people. The infrastructure is what we build around the people who make the cities. Current cost-effective strategies to address the consequences of the growth in cities include investing in walking, cycling and sustainable public transport.
More active travel, public transport use and cleaner transport all contribute positively to the health of people. The health effects of urban air pollution alone are estimated to cost more than 5% of the GDP in developing countries. The economic cost of air pollution from road transport in OECD countries, measured in terms of lives lost and ill health, is estimated at US$1 trillion. The costs of respiratory ailments and other diseases due to vehicle-related air pollution can be 2–4% of GDP. Urban outdoor air pollution causes 3.7 million premature deaths per year worldwide.
Accessibility and place shaping
We must design places that deliver for everyone, because if we don’t then they are non-inclusive. Transport systems must be inclusive and developed in a way that supports people by creating places that are accessible and support active lifestyles.  
Resilience
Funding certainty is vital for transport infrastructure to be resilient to the effects of a changing climate.  Integrating climate change risks into decision-making processes is vital. There is a need to identify which assets and operations are vulnerable to climate change. Risk can then be prioritised and robust adaptation responses developed.
Integration of planning and transport
A key issue is how planning integrates with transport. For instance, housing developments should be supported by sustainable transport. There is also a need to plan and invest in infrastructure that supports a reduction in transport emissions.
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