Freight and the Climate Challenge
With 7.0 GtCO2eq of direct GHG emissions (including non-CO2 gases) in 2010, the transport sector produced 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions. Freight Transport was responsible for 10% of these.
Reducing global transport GHG emissions will be challenging. The continuing growth in freight activity could outweigh all mitigation measures unless transport emissions can be strongly decoupled from GDP growth.
To address the challenges of climate change, freight transport systems need to be transformed globally.
The solutions will fall into four main categories:
- avoiding journeys where possible — by locally sourcing products, internet shopping, restructuring freight logistics systems, and utilising advanced information and communication technologies (ICT);
- modal shift to lower-carbon transport systems — by modifying roads, airports, ports, and railways to minimise travel time and distance;
- lowering energy intensity (MJ / tonne km) — by enhancing vehicle and engine performance, using lightweight materials and increasing freight load factors;
- reducing carbon intensity of fuels (CO2eq / MJ) — by substituting oil-based products with natural gas, bio-methane, or biofuels, electricity or hydrogen produced from low GHG sources.
New business models will be central to the achievement of emissions reductions across these 4 key levers. Examples include new partnerships to use/distribute novel fuels and collaboration between logistics users to optimise loads and journeys.