A global foresight study on key insights for the decarbonisation of the transport sector
The transport sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions at present. It accounts for approximately one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and hence figures prominently in efforts to transform the energy economy and protect the climate. With-out a scaled-up global mitigation effort, it will not be possible to reach the climate targets of the Paris Agreement. A decarbonisation of the global transport sector is the next necessary step in the global energy transformation.
Since this study was commissioned, the surrounding circumstances have taken an unforeseeable turn on a global level. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that there is potential for swift systemic change within the mobility sector whilst at the same time highlighting certain weaknesses of the transport system. This has underlined, that the transformation towards a decarbonised, socially and economically sustainable transport sector must start immediately, not only to tackle climate change but also to strengthen societal and economic resilience and prepare for future crises.The main findings presented here could thus not be more relevant and urgent.Germanyʼs Federal Foreign Office has commissioned the project “T4<2° – Transport for under two degrees”, a global foresight study on the decarbonisation and transformation of the transport sector. The study identifies challenges and opportunities for a sustainable, low-carbon transport sector and provides decision-makers with a clear vision and specific recommendationson how to achieve decarbonisation of the sector and orchestrate international efforts for a global transport system transformation.
To identify the necessary action for a full decarbonisation of transport, the study applied methods of strategic foresight1: In particular, these methods comprised context mapping in the form of a systematic literature review on international transport scenarios and 56 qualitative interviewswith international senior experts primarily from the transport and energy sectors. Subsequently, a two-stage Delphi survey was conducted. A Delphi survey is a structured, iterative group facilitation technique that has been developed as a systematic, interactive forecasting method. 290 international experts participated in the first round of the survey; 103 experts took part in round two. The project was implemented between March 2018 and February 2020. The findings from the context mapping and Delphi survey have been synthesised and interpreted, thus deriving implications for policy and international cooperation.