The transport industry isn’t doing enough to halt climate change, report says

Despite a global push towards cleaner forms of energy, we are not on track to battle global warming, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns in its World Energy Outlook 2021 report.

Even more alarmingly, the scenarios mapped out in the report show that announced pledges fall far short of the emission reductions needed to limit the temperature rises to 1.5 Celsius degrees — beyond which the worst impacts of climate change will be felt.

Feeling depressed yet? Me too.

Transport at the core of the problem

Not surprisingly, transport is expectedly a focal point of the report, as it has the highest levels on reliance on fossil fuels and accounts for 37% of CO2 emissions from end-use sectors.

To highlight the need for more ambitious action by governments, the IEA laid out two scenarios regarding the sector’s effect on climate change:

  • The Announced Pledges Scenario (APS), which assumes that all climate commitments made by governments around the world will be met in full and on time.

  • The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE), which sets out a narrow but viable plan for the global energy sector to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

IEA estimates that by 2030, transport emissions will be almost 2.5 gigatonnes higher in the APS than in the NZE scenario, with road transport representing nearly three-quarters of the ambition gap between the two scenarios.

Two reasons why

First up, the APS scenario will see an increased demand in conventional car sales in developing economies due to the lack of respective pledges.

As a result, transport energy demand is expected to be 24% higher in 2030 that in 2020, whereas in the NZE it’s projected to remain at the same levels.

The second main reason is the slower electrification pace in the APS in combination with lower deployment of bioenergy and hydrogen-based fuels.

In this scenario, more than 89% of transport’s consumption by 2030 is still based on oil products, and close to 5% on electricity. In the NZE, however, oil products are decreased to 75% and electricity rises by 2%.

To get a clearer picture, below you can observe the CO2 emissions and energy consumption per scenario:

IEA calls for more action to tackle global warming