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IRU provides reality check on road transport decarbonisation at UN
Global | New York

IRU provides reality check on road transport decarbonisation at UN

14 Jul 2023 · Environment

The world road transport organisation, IRU, presented its Green Compact at a key UN political forum today, highlighting pragmatic and disruptive solutions to decarbonise road transport.

The road transport industry is committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Striking the right balance between cutting CO₂ emissions and continuing to effectively meet demand for road transport services is IRU and the industry’s ultimate green mission. But how do we get there?

IRU presented the industry’s decarbonisation road map, as laid out in its Green Compact, at a UN side-event panel titled, “Pathways to sustainable development: the nexus of energy, urban planning and transport”, held under the framework of the UN High Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Following the interventions of UNESCAP’s Executive Secretary, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, and UNECE’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Dmitry Mariyasin, IRU Senior Global Advocacy Adviser Jens Hügel underlined the need to scale up existing solutions, including driver training, collective passenger transport and eco-trucks, to reduce road transport’s CO₂ emissions. 

Eco-trucks, which transport more goods than standard vehicle combinations, offer a quick decarbonisation solution. Two eco-trucks carry the cargo of three standard trucks.

Jens Hügel said, “While we transition to green energy sources, strong disruptive political will is needed to scale up existing pragmatic decarbonisation solutions such as eco-trucks.

“It should also be made clear that battery-electric vehicles are not zero-emission vehicles as long as fossil fuel is used to produce the electricity.”

“Before talking about zero-emission vehicles, we need to get the energy production side of the equation right,” he added.

As trade is carried out at a national, regional and global level, decarbonisation requires global coordination. IRU’s Green Compact outlines a collective pathway to implement low-hanging fruit decarbonisation solutions in the short term, provides a technology-neutral avenue to decarbonise in the medium term, and offers a vision for full decarbonisation through alternative fuels in the long run.  

“Leading up to the COP28 negotiations, a pragmatic, realistic and regionally tailored approach to decarbonising road transport, as called for in the IRU Green Compact, is needed more than ever,” concluded Jens Hügel.