COP21 presents a unique opportunity for public transport

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The world’s governments will need public transport to keep up COP21 promises

In just under two weeks’ time all eyes will be on Paris as world leaders are expected to sign a landmark legally-binding agreement at the UN COP21 climate change negotiations. The stakes are high to keep the increase in global temperature below 2°C and avoid the threat of dangerous climate change.

To avoid this worst case scenario, the following actions will have to be agreed on in Paris for the talks to be considered a success.

All countries, developed and developing, regardless of their size or wealth – from big polluters like the US and China to low-lying island states most at risk of rising sea levels like the Maldives – will have to make a solid commitment to do something about climate change (see the 137 countries’ list of pre-conference promised cuts here). They will then need to agree to track and regularly review their emissions cuts. Finally, they will also have to agree on the financial support they give to less well-off countries to make sure they can live up to their commitments.

As a sector we already know that we can and are ready to do to help governments deliver on their national commitments.

So as challenging as the negotiations are undoubtedly going to be, the hard work will really start after Paris when national governments will have to find ways to live up to their commitments to meet the agreed targets. And this is where we the public transport sector will come into the picture.

UITP members will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the promises made on paper and the actual emissions released into the atmosphere. As a sector we already know that we can and are ready to do to help governments deliver on their national commitments. We know what we can achieve through the commitments we have made so far to be climate leaders and double the market share of public transport by 2025.

In fact, UITP will be offering recommendations and highlighting the efforts of its members at COP21 knowing full well that this is the most effective means to reduce emissions while driving economic growth.

By the end of this year, the UN will hope to have achieved a legally binding global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. UITP will hope to convince world leaders in Paris that one of the best ways to achieve this goal is through prioritising public transport.

Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General

  • For further information on UITP efforts linked to COP 21, please go to:
  • For a summary of the main arguments of the main arguments UITP will be making to national governments at COP21, click here.

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