Moving to a cleaner future

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Decarbonising transport remains a challenge

In the last few years the power sector has made encouraging progress in reducing CO2 emissions through the increased use of renewable energy.

However, the use of renewable energy in the transport sector is still well below the levels needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

Transport is responsible for around 30% of global energy consumption, and its energy use is expected to grow substantially by 2050.

A combination of low-carbon approaches can cut transport emissions from 8.5 gigatons (Gt) of CO2 today to 2.4 Gt CO2 per year by 2050 – a reduction of almost 80%.

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Successful sector transformation requires action now

Early actions in the sector should include:

  • Reducing transport volume and congestion by promoting digital communication;
  • Energy efficiency solutions, including shift to public transportation and vehicle sharing;
  • Improved multi-mode connections and urban planning;
  • Increasing renewable energy in final energy use in transport from around 3% to 56% in 2050;

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It’s possible to move to a cleaner future

Renewable energy powered solutions are available now and their cost and performance will continue to improve over time. Full decarbonisation will require a combination of:

  • direct electrification;
  • Biofuels;
  • electric-fuels derived from renewable hydrogen.

Trams, buses and passenger vehicles powered by renewable electricity need to become the predominant forms of city transport. In sectors such as aviation, shipping and long-haul road transport, biofuels and electric-fuels derived from renewable hydrogen will play a central role.

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Electrification is key

The share of electricity in transport should rise from just above 1% to 43% in 2050. 86% of power would come from renewables, therefore 37% of transport energy would come from renewable electricity.

Actions needed to accelerate uptake of electric mobility include:

  • Establishing emission standards for vehicles;
  • Prioritising electric vehicles for cities and deploying low-emissions city trucks;
  • Incentivising e-charging infrastructure;
  • Strengthening the link between power and transport sectors though vehicle-to-grid services.

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Electric vehicles are leading the way

Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise. Global EV sales are accelerating, surpassing 6 million in 2019.

By 2050, there would be over one billion electric vehicles if policy makers take the necessary steps today.

Action is already visible on local level. Shenzen for example, the Chinese metropolis of 20 million people, electrified 16,000 public buses.

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Electric vehicles need ‘smart’ charging infrastructure

Smart charging involves adjusting the charging cycle of EVs to take into account the needs of both the power system and car drivers.

Smart charging for electric vehicles is key to delivering both clean transport and low-carbon power supply. It minimises the impact from EVs on power demand and creates the flexibility needed to integrate more solar and wind power into the grids.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging allows EVs not only to draw electricity from the grid, but also to inject electricity back in, resulting in additional revenues for car owners.

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A shift to renewable fuel options is crucial

Biofuels will need to increase its share of transport energy supply from just below 3% today to around 30% in 2050.

Action is needed to foster biofuels in road, aviation and shipping by:

  • Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and implementing carbon pricing;
  • Adopting policies to scale up sustainable production of first- and second-generation biofuels;
  • Introducing direct financial incentives along with financial de-risking measures.

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The rise of green hydrogen

Hydrogen can help tackle various critical energy challenges in ‘hard-to decarbonise’ sectors, such as shipping and aviation. However, the climate impact of hydrogen depends on how it is produced.

Hydrogen from renewable power, so called green hydrogen, produced through renewable-powered electrolysis is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

The use of hydrogen as transport fuel could lead to a drop of nearly 70% in oil consumption by 2050.

Green hydrogen could translate into 8% of global energy consumption by 2050.

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Shipping needs to halve emissions by 2050

Shipping is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 9% of transport related emissions. This figure will rise significantly as trade volumes increase.

With heavy fuel oil covering 82% of the sector’s energy needs, decarbonising global shipping will play a critical role in achieving climate objectives.

Key solutions for the sector to halve emissions by 2050:

  • Shifting from fossil fuels to alternatives;
  • Upgrading onshore infrastructure and practices during docking;
  • Electrification;
  • Reducing fuel demand by improving operational performance.

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Aviation is lagging behind but ambition is there

The aviation sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions.

Aviation has accounted for around 12% of global fuel consumption for transport.

Already today, many airlines have set voluntary targets to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and halve emissions by 2050. Aviation emissions could be reduced by 1.5% annually through improved fuel efficiency, modifications to aircraft and optimised navigational systems.

There is a need to further reduce emissions through the use of advanced biofuels, so called “biojet”. The technology is feasible, but it requires further commercialisation and improvement in costs.

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A combination of low-carbon approaches can cut transport emissions by almost 80% by 2050.

A combination of low-carbon approaches can cut transport emissions by almost 80% by 2050.

However, urgent action is needed to accelerate uptake of electric mobility and foster further development of biofuels and electric fuels.

Moving to a cleaner future is possible with renewables.


Moving to a cleaner future
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