Welcome to the United Nations
Energy and transport

Energy and transport

Sunday, 27 November, 3:00 – 4:00 P.M.

Lead entity: UNIDO

Transport decisions—at the national and municipal levels,  but also globally—must go hand in hand with  energy decisions if sustainable development is to  be achieved and should include a shift towards high--‐efficiency  and low--‐carbon modes of transport. Sustainable energy will, by definition,  serve as a precondition  for and ultimately further sustainable transport. However,  in the short--‐term  developed and developing countries alike will  be looking to strike the right balance between  assuring  access to  energy and transport for this generation and preserving  the  planet for the  next. It is  especially important  when 23  per cent of energy--‐related  greenhouse gas emissions come from transport;  and road congestion is  a tremendous burden  on the economy,  currently accounting for 0.7%  of the  GDP in the United States,  2% of GDP in Europe, 2–5% of  GDP in  Asia, and as  high as 10% of GDP in   some cities of emerging economies (World Bank, 2015). 

The main technical pathway  to realize large--‐scale  energy--‐saving and emission  reductions in road transport is through  the development of “New Energy” Vehicle  (NEV) technologies. Such advanced--‐ powertrain vehicle  technologies, which include electric  battery, plug--‐in hybrid and fuel  cell electric vehicle technologies  have the advantages of high energy efficiency and tail pipe  zero emissions. While the  use of EVs reduces the demand on imported  liquid fuels and  improving energy security, it  does not  reduce environmental impacts  if electricity is mainly  produced from fossil fuels. Promoting  low carbon power  generation, including the  supply of electricity to NEV,  have been identified as one of  the measures in national strategies to address energy and environmental problems  in both sectors. Furthermore, a  significant, but so far  untapped potential for electro mobility  exists in rural areas  in developing  countries, for example through electric  outboard engines for short distance  travel and commuting along  inland waterways (e.g.in  the Amazon basin) in  combination with rural electrification  efforts based on renewable energy sources (IEA,  2016). 

Technological innovations  in vehicles, combined with the use of information and  communication technologies and  the concept of the internet--‐of--‐things (IoT), have  greatly enhanced fuel efficiency and safety.  Lighter materials for vehicle  parts, such  as done in the aviation sector to reduce  weight of planes and  improve aerodynamics, has resulted  to significant energy and carbon emission reductions. The rail  sector has also  shown great strides in system  electrification, coupled with investments in  renewable energy and smart grids.  

Furthermore, the provision of sustainable mobility  requires policy--‐makers and  planners to understand  and incorporate the needs  of different societal  stakeholders into policy  frameworks for  providing both public  and private transport.  Enabling Policy Framework  including local/sectoral policies,  technical regulations and  voluntary standards, implementation strategies,  as well as incentives  and financing  schemes is  a precursor in all countries to accelerate EV adoption and increased EV--‐renewables integration. Designing and re--‐designing urban systems  towards transit--‐oriented development with greater road  network connectivity while containing urban  sprawl, have high potential for shaping urban sustainable transport systems.  Efficient public transport systems and provision of infrastructure for non- ‐  motorized or more active transport  options like bicycle and pedestrian lanes can induce  the shift to more efficient  and zero--‐emission modes of mobility at  city level.  

Possible questions for  discussion: 

1. What policies are  in place in key countries  to accelerate EV  adoption? What type  of government intervention  is critical  for increased EV--‐renewables  integration and how  electrical mobility can  be used for rural areas?  

2. Which innovative technology solutions can countries  consider in  reducing the energy  and carbon intensity  of transport  within their sustainable  development plans  and programs? How can  the proper innovation ecosystem  be fostered in  developing countries? 

3. How can better planning of cities support  low--‐emission transport?  How can sustainable  urban energy systems support  sustainable modes of transport? How can  capacity of local actors  be enhanced? What is the role of partnerships especially with the private sector, and global/regional  platforms in this regard? What are the experiences and lessons  learned?