WEO Week: Sectoral transitions to new energy industries
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Transport

Improving the sustainability of passenger and freight transport

Getting transportation on track with the IEA's Sustainable Development Scenario requires implementing a broad set of policies, summed up as "Avoid, Shift, Improve". The IEA helps further this transition by analysing technologies and transport systems that can be developed and adopted by countries to reduce dependence on oil and emissions of greenhouse gases. This work also enables reductions in air pollution, road fatalities and congestion, while improving passenger and freight transport access.

Key findings

Evolution of road passenger transport activity in selected countries in early 2020

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Mobility fell by an unprecedented amount in the first half of 2020

As a consequence of global lockdown measures due to the Covid-19 crisis, mobility – 57% of global oil demand – declined at an unprecedented scale in early 2020. Road transport in regions with lockdowns in place dropped between 50% and 75%, with global average road transport activity almost falling to 50% of the 2019 level by the end of March 2020.

Transport sector CO2 emissions by mode in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030

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Emissions from transport continue to rise

Global transport emissions increased by less than 0.5% in 2019 (compared with 1.9% annually since 2000) owing to efficiency improvements, electrification and greater use of biofuels. Nevertheless, transportation is still responsible for 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. Road vehicles – cars, trucks, buses and two- and three-wheelers – account for nearly three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions, and emissions from aviation and shipping continue to rise, highlighting the need for greater international policy focus on these hard-to-abate subsectors.

Global electric vehicle stock by region, 2010-2020

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Electric vehicles have been growing around the world

Electric car deployment has been growing rapidly over the past ten years, with 10 million on the world's roads at the end of 2020. Electric car registrations increased by 41% in 2020, despite the pandemic-related worldwide downturn in car sales in which global car sales dropped 16%. Around 3 million electric cars were sold globally (a 4.6% sales share), and Europe overtook the People’s Republic of China as the world’s largest electric vehicle market for the first time.
Our work

Created in 1990, the AFC TCP seeks to make a significant contribution to address the opportunities and barriers to fuel cell commercialisation by fostering the development of fuel cell technologies and their application on an international basis, and conveying key messages to policy makers and the wider community as appropriate.

Created in 1979, the AMT TCP focuses on materials critical to fuel efficiency improvement for current and future transportation technologies. The AMT TCP conducts co-operative research activities on friction reduction, waste heat recovery, and lightweighting of vehicles. The TCP work programme includes the development of standard test methods, testing, demonstration and design guidelines.

The mission of the AMF TCP is to advance the understanding and appreciation of the potential of advanced motor fuels towards transport sustainability. This is achieved by providing sound information and technology assessments designed to facilitate informed and science-based decisions regarding advanced motor fuels at all levels of decision-making.

The Combustion TCP provides a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and enables international collaborative research to advance the understanding of combustion processes to: accelerate the development of combustion technologies that demonstrate reduced fuel consumption and have lower pollutant emissions in transportation, power generation, industry and buildings, and; generate, compile and disseminate independent information, expertise and knowledge related to combustion for the research community, industry, policy makers and society.

In operation since 1993, the HEV TCP provides a forum for global co-operation on the development and deployment of electric vehicles. It supplies objective information to support decision making, functions as a facilitator for international collaboration in pre-competitive research and demonstration projects, fosters international exchange of information, and it can promote projects and programmes for research, development, demonstration and deployment.

The aim of the Bioenergy TCP is to increase knowledge and understanding of bioenergy systems in order to facilitate the commercialisation and market deployment of environmentally sound, socially acceptable, and cost-competitive, low-carbon bioenergy systems and technologies, and to advise policy and industrial decision makers accordingly.

The Hydrogen TCP, founded in 1977, works to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilisation in the areas of production, storage, distribution, power, heating, mobility and industry. The Hydrogen TCP seeks to optimise environmental protection, improve energy security, transform global energy systems and grid management, and promote international economic development, as well as serving as the premier global resource for expertise in all aspects of hydrogen technology.