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IRU outlines industry approach on decarbonisation at UN
Switzerland | Geneva

IRU outlines industry approach on decarbonisation at UN

26 Feb 2020

Opening this weeks’ annual United Nations Inland Transport Committee (ITC) session, Secretary General Umberto de Pretto outlined IRU’s pragmatic approach on decarbonisation.  

The only private sector voice on the panel, he outlined IRU’s integrated and holistic approach to decarbonisation in a keynote speech during the high-level session that opened the week-long talks.

Decarbonising transport
Umberto de Pretto mapped out practical considerations for the longer-term transition over the coming years, giving importance to the bigger picture “well-to-wheel” and full lifecycle approach of CO2 emissions, rather than the narrower “tank-to-wheel” approach that focuses primarily on the vehicle itself. 

As a key driver of trade and development, road transport has a vital role to play in helping to reach global decarbonisation objectives. 

“If we don’t get road transport right, we won’t achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals” said de Pretto to the hundreds of governments and transport authorities in attendance. 

Reinforcing the commitment of IRU and its member associations to help decarbonise transport, de Pretto also presented four short-term “quick-wins” that can drive significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the near future, encouraging the road transport industry and governments to work together to move them forward. 

IRU outlines industry approach on decarbonisation at UN

Upgrade public transport
Public authority investments into collective transport on our roads are fast, cheap and flexible means to help lower emissions from private vehicle use. 

One long-distance passenger coach can take 30 cars of the road, reducing emissions by up to 70%. One high-capacity bi-articulated urban bus can transport up to 250 people, reducing emissions by over 95%. 

Encourage higher capacity trucks
As for high-capacity buses in cities, high-capacity trucks have significant potential to reduce emissions of goods transported, by up to 40%. 

Already running in many countries, their potential to reduce CO2 emissions would be unleashed if global and regional standards were harmonised enabling more widespread use, especially for cross-border transports. 

“If we don’t get road transport right, we won’t achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals”

Ease border traffic 
Long truck waiting times at borders – sometimes measured in days or even weeks – contribute to unnecessary CO2 emissions. Making more use of international standards that smooth cross border freight movements, such as the TIR Convention and digitalisation of transport documents, will make a difference.

Train and certify drivers
Research shows that training truck, bus and coach drivers to adapt their driving style can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15%.

The United Nations ITC is an annual week-long series of high level talks that bring representatives of transport ministries from around the globe to Geneva. The meetings continue through this week.