Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union (IRU), outlined a pragmatic approach on decarbonisation as part of this week's annual United Nations Inland Transport Committee (ITC) session.
Representing the only private sector voice on the panel, de Pretto presented a keynote speech about the IRU's integrated and holistic approach to decarbonisation.
On the topic of decarbonising transport, de Pretto mapped out practical considerations for the longer-term transition over the coming years, giving importance to the bigger picture 'well-to-wheel' and full lifecycle approach of CO2 emissions, rather than the narrower 'tank-to-wheel' approach that focuses primarily on the vehicle itself.
As a key driver of trade and development, road transport has a vital role to play in helping to reach global decarbonisation objectives according to the IRU.
“If we don’t get road transport right, we won't achieve the UN's sustainable development goals” de Pretto said to the hundreds of governments and transport authorities in attendance.
Reinforcing the commitment of IRU and its member associations to help decarbonise transport, de Pretto also presented four short-term 'quick-wins' that can drive significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the near future, encouraging the road transport industry and governments to work together to move them forward.
These quick wins include: upgrades to public transport to help lower emissions for private vehicle use; the uptake of higher capacity trucks, which has potential to reduce emissions of goods transported by 30 per cent; easement on border traffic, i.e. the facilitation of smoother cross border freight movements; and training drivers to adapt their driving style to be more fuel efficient (reasearch reportedly shows this could reduce emissions by up to 15 per cent).
The United Nations ITC is an annual week-long series of high level talks that bring representatives of transport ministries from around the globe to Geneva. The meetings continue through this week.
In other news, an IRU report uncovers barriers to road safety investment.