CEE Climate Policy Frontier

Between Regional Best Practices and Paris Agreement-compatibility in the transport sector

The transport sector is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise in the European Union. This is even more the case for the Central and Eastern European countries, where increasing economic growth and quality of life have led to exponential growth in transport activity levels and resulting emissions. Can this growth be slowed or even reversed using the Regional Best Practices? By how much do the transport emissions have to decrease to be compatible with the Paris Agreement temperature limit?

The publication investigates the impact of 52 indicators influencing emissions from the transport sector in Bulgaria, Czechia,  Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. For each of these indicators we select the best value found in one of the six countries and develop a Regional Best Practice Scenario (RBP Scenario) in which the indicators with the best value from the selected countries are applied universally across these countries until 2030. Subsequently, we compare this value with the emissions reduction needed to meet the Paris Agreement temperature limit.

The main conclusion of the report is that the universal application of the Regional Best Practices would result in a significant slowdown in the increase of emissions – by 2030 transport emissions would increase by 5% instead of 84% compared to 2015 levels, if the past trends are extrapolated into the future. However, compatibility with the Paris Agreement temperature limit requires a significant emissions reduction instead of merely their stabilisation at 2015 levels: between 38% and 49% by 2030.

These results indicate, that while the adoption of the Regional Best Practices take the countries a long-way towards Paris Agreement-compatibility, the emissions reductions needed require a shift from incremental to transformational changes in the transport sector. This may take the form of a complete switch to low carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen or renewables-based electricity. Alternatively, a switch to low carbon means of transport, especially rail, offers a viable alternative to reduce emissions.
In addition to presenting the potential offered by universal implementation of the Regional Best Practices, assessing the impact of all drivers influencing emissions allows for identification of the gaps and overlaps in the policy framework shaping emissions from the transport sector. Whereas some of the indicators (e.g. emissions intensity from passenger cars) are addressed by a number of policies, the activity levels (e.g. resulting from commuting) or the decreasing load factors have remained largely ignored. A more comprehensive view on the policies and measures influencing these indicators can result in more effective and efficient emissions reductions in the transport sector.

The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on the EUKI: www.euki.de

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