Summary analysis​

In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, deep decarbonisation of the In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, deep decarbonisation of the transport sector is necessary. This analysis looks at the commitments and goals countries are setting to decarbonise the sector within their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LTS) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is based on the documents included in this Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport, as of 12 October 2021.

In January, a preliminary analysis was released here. The main focus of this analysis is the newly-submitted NDCs, consisting of updated first and second NDCs. We recommend reading about transport in the first generation of NDCs in SLOCAT Partnership’s NDCs Offering Opportunities for Ambitious Climate Action report of 2016, GIZ’s 2017 Transport in NDCs report and SLOCAT Partnership’s Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report 2018. In addition, GIZ’s Six Action Recommendations to enhance climate ambition in transport and the Ten Recommendations to raise ambition for transport in NDCs by the SLOCAT Partnership will help to better understand the context of transport action for climate. A detailed presentation and report about transport in the LTS and second-generation NDCs can be found here.

Please download here the internal Excel file which contains all information of this database and analysis charts (last updated 12 October 2021).

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This analysis is structured along the following questions:

Overview and scope

Second generation nationally determined contributions

As of 12 October 2021, a total of 13 second NDCs​​ and 103 updated NDCs​ representing 143 countries have been submitted to the UNFCCC. The European Union submitted an updated NDC on behalf of the 27 member states of the EU. The countries that have handed in second generation NDCs so far account for 70% of total transport CO2 emissions (excl. international aviation and shipping).

Some of the largest transport CO2 emitting countries that submitted new NDCs include Australia, Brazil, the EU, Japan, Mexico and the US. However, after the US, which is the biggest transport emitting country, the second- and third-largest transport emitting countries, China and India have yet to submit a new NDC. The European Union has already submitted its updated NDC representing all EU member states. In addition, 15 Latin American countries and 14 Asian countries have submitted second generation NDCs. 6 African countries have submitted new NDCs to the UNFCCC to date. 62% of new NDCs are from middle-income countries and 26% from high-income countries. Only 9% of new NDCs are from low-income countries.

Nearly all European and North American countries submitted second-generation NDCs; in the other world regions NDCs cover around two thirds of countries.

The NDCs are an opportunity to express the need for international support in regards to climate action. Low-income countries could benefit from submitting updated NDCs because it could increase their access to international climate finance. Climate strategies of low- and middle-income countries are important as future transport demand growth is projected to occur mainly in these country income groups.

Long-term strategies

By 12 October 2021, 32 countries plus the EU have submitted their long-term low GHG emission development strategies (abbreviated here as LTS). 15 individual EU member countries submitted additional national LTS, resulting in the majority of LTS (61% of all submissions) coming from Europe. The LTS cover 35% of total CO2 emissions and 51% of transport CO2 emissions (excl. international aviation and shipping). No LTS submissions from low-income countries had been submitted by the cut-off date.

(The EU does not have an assigned income group as member states cover a variety of income levels.)

Progress on targets, yet more ambition is needed to maximise sustainability impacts

Countries have made progress in developing long-term climate visions, with a growing number committing to long-term net-zero targets. 30 countries have submitted economy-wide net-zero targets in LTS, second-generation NDCs, or both. 41% of second-generation NDCs contain transport targets (either transport GHG mitigation targets and/or other quantitative targets for transport).

18 second-generation NDCs have a transport GHG mitigation target, representing 14% of all second-generation NDCs.  11 of these targets are unconditional. 4 countries outlined conditional targets for transport GHG emission mitigation, the remaining 3 countries have a combination of unconditional and conditional targets. Nearly all of them have a target year of 2030.

In addition, 74 non-GHG transport targets have been identified in second-generation NDCs (a NDC can include several non-GHG mitigation targets). The percentage of mode share targets decreased significantly between the first and second generation of NDCs. The most frequent non-GHG target was for zero emission vehicles, followed by vehicle efficiency targets.

Targets in Long-Term Strategies

Eight countries (Belgium, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) include transport targets in their LTS (representing 24% of submitted LTS). In contrast to second-generation NDCs, LTS usually have a target year of 2050.

Actions to mitigate transport emissions are insufficient to reach Paris Agreement goals

Climate strategies embrace a wider portfolio of transport mitigation actions but the mitigation actions continue to lean towards system efficiency improvements over transformation.

On average, the second generation of NDCs include more transport mitigation and adaptation actions than the first generation. There are nearly twice as many transport mitigation actions featured in each second-generation NDC compared to first-generation NDCs. On average, there are 2.7 transport mitigation measures per first-generation NDC, 4.9 transport mitigation measures per second-generation NDC and 20 transport mitigation measures per LTS. In second-generation NDCs, there has been a clear shift away from actions related to public transport and towards e-mobility measures and targets. An issue that continues from the first generation of NDCs is that many actions and measures have vague descriptions.

Types of mitigation measures in new NDCs

Transport adaptation targets and actions are still limited

Similar to mitigation, there are more transport adaptation actions featured in second-generation NDCs compared to first-generation NDCs. On average, there are 0.4 transport adaptation measures per first-generation NDC and 1.1 transport adaptation measures per second-generation NDC.

Only six second-generation NDCs (Antigua and Barbuda, Burundi, Cambodia, Kenya, Liberia, Papua New Guinea) contain transport adaptation targets. They include targets to climate-proof infrastructure and develop public transport and active mobility systems in support of more robust and resilient transport systems.

The adaptation content is very general and the majority is limited to road infrastructure resilience. Actions on transport adaptation rarely specify the type of transport activity they aim to address (i.e., passenger or freight). 48 second-generation NDCs (41% of all NDCs) include transport adaptation measures, a significant improvement over the first-generation NDCs where transport adaptation was covered in just 22%.

Electrification takes pole position

New climate strategies feature a strong focus on electrification of road transport across vehicle types. Electric mobility (e-mobility) is the most common category of measures in second-generation NDCs. 60 second-generation NDCs (52%) include e-mobility-related actions, representing 19% of all actions. 31 non-GHG transport targets in second-generation NDCs relate to vehicle electrification, and all are from middle and high-income countries.

Freight emissions growth continues unabated

Freight remains overlooked in NDC measures despite the sector’s large contributions to GHG emissions. Action on freight is urgent due to rapidly rising demand and emissions. Only a few second-generation NDCs embrace a shift of road freight to rail and improvements of logistics.

The large majority of actions in second-generation NDCs do not specify which transport activity type they will apply to. The most popular freight actions in second-generation NDCs include: shifting from road transport to rail or inland waterways (14 actions), freight efficiency improvements (9 actions) and vehicle-focused improvements (8 actions).

Attention to aviation and shipping emissions remains insufficient

There is a notable lack of coherence between domestic and international commitments to decarbonise aviation and shipping. Only a few countries have expressed their intention to increase their engagement in global agreements on aviation and shipping.​

Only 15 second-generation NDCs include plans to reduce emissions related to domestic aviation and maritime transport. A good example is Fiji, which has a target of reducing domestic maritime shipping CO2 emissions 40% below BAU by 2030. In addition, only a few countries have expressed their intention to increase their engagement in global agreements on aviation and shipping​: The LTS by the EU and Singapore have, for example, pointed out that efforts to minimise their aviation and shipping emissions will be addressed through their active participation in International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization.

This analysis shows some examples of the kind of insights this database can provide. Please feel free to download the data and utilise it for your own interests and needs. If you have any questions, or would like to share how you used the data, please contact Nikola Medimorec at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Nadja Taeger at email hidden; JavaScript is required.