IPCC lead author Suzana Kahn Ribeiro’s perspective on transport

An interview with the lead author of the transport chapter for Working Group III’s contribution to the 6th IPCC Assessment Report

By Matthias Langer and Nadja Taeger

On Monday 04 April 2022, the IPCC released their latest assessment report “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change”. In advance of its publication, we had the chance to ask a couple of questions to Suzana Kahn Ribeiro, professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and one of the lead authors of the new report’s transport chapter. In the short interview, Suzana explained to us why it will not be easy to transform all areas of transport in a sustainable way.

What role do the IPCC and the Working Groups play in increasing ambition and action on climate change?

All of the 3 WGs give support to political actions towards reducing GHG emissions, therefore, decreasing the risks of climate change. WG 1 shows how human activities influence the level of carbon concentration, WG2 describes all the vulnerabilities faced by different regions and the impacts that global warming will cause. WG3 presents alternative mitigation solutions that could be achieved if these alternatives are implemented. So, with all that information on hand, policy makers can have the necessary stimulus to act and confidence in actions to be taken.

Do you have any suggestions on how institutions could apply the knowledge gained from the IPCC Working Group III report to enable a quick transition?

Institutions will find in the report not only alternative solutions to mitigate emissions in different sectors, but also the costs, barriers and enabling conditions to implement them.

In what way does the new IPCC Working Group III report differ from previous reports?

Each new report provides more information, since during the years more research is done as well as more technologies are developed, some of them reaching maturity level, lower costs therefore being more feasible.

What do you consider key challenges for mitigating emissions from transport? What makes it special in comparison to other sectors?

Transport is a sector where emissions are still increasing, since developing countries are still in their growing process, not only related to population but also to per capita income, which leads to more mobility (passenger and goods). Different modes have to be considered, infrastructure and level of transport services. So, there are many issues to be addressed.

What are the most important areas that need to be changed?

Infrastructure for public transport.

What can the transport community do to support the necessary transition?

Investments in innovation, research, and development in order to lower the cost of new and more efficient technologies so that it can be affordable.

Read our summary of transport in the IPCC AR6 WG3 report here.

The Advancing Transport Climate Strategies (TraCS) project that authored this blog article is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.