On the Road to COP26
COP is in just 148 days time and we have some important milestones to guide us to the eventual destination. And they are all currently pointing in the same direction. We are likely to see an unprecedented drive for a more internationally co-ordinated approach to zero emission vehicles, the promotion of active transport modes, and a deal to not just commit but deliver the complete decarbonisation of the transport sector by 2050, in some cases such as private cars, probably by 2040 if not earlier. This is to be achieved through a more holistic approach to transport, health, well-being and the urban environment.
As we begin to plan the post COVID-19 world, the Paris Climate Accord, the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, the goals of the European Green Deal, and the EU’s and UK’s COVID-19 recovery plans, to build back better and ensure a sustainable recovery and resilience, are beginning to merge, as indeed they should.
And this holistic approach is being pursued by the G7, which meets under the UK Presidency, in just under a week’s time. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will gather leaders of G7 nations, the EU and guest countries at the G7 Summit in Cornwall on 11-13 June 2021 and a key focus will be transforming transport.
G7 Ministers responsible for Climate and Environment, met virtually on 20-21 May 2021 and agreed Joint commitments, which include accelerating the deployment of zero emission vehicles for passengers and freight, and an intensification of efforts in enhancing the offer of more sustainable transport modes in urban and rural areas, including public transport, shared mobility, cycling and walking, and supporting inter-modal transport with investment in rail and waterborne infrastructure. Aviation and maritime are also expected to play their full part in delivering a pathway of emissions reduction consistent with the mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, as we await the ‘Fit for 55’ Package on 14 July, we’ve already seen signs of this new holistic approach with a strengthened focus on the urban environment and clean transport. One new target is for European cities to aim for zero emissions and zero road fatalities by 2030. The European Commission is organising five consultation workshops on how to deliver that new approach to urban mobility. In addition, Horizon Europe, the €95.5 billion R&D fund which the UK’s remains a member post Brexit, will have a strong focus on transport decarbonisation and greener cities.
If you would like more information about the G7, Fit for 55, COP26, or Horizon Europe, or just want to be part of this new collaborative and holistic approach to transport please do get in touch.
Mark Watts FCILT FRSA
More information from Mark Watts
Mark Watts FCILT FRSA is Director of LP Brussels and a former two-term Member of the European Parliament. He has been advising organisations and businesses on EU transport, energy and environment policy for over seventeen years. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He writes in a personal capacity.