Speaking notes at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport meeting by Wilma Mansveld, Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment of the Netherlands

Speaking notes at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport meeting by Wilma Mansveld, Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment of the Netherlands New York, 26 September 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the UN Global Compact, UN Habitat, the International Road Transport Union and the International Chamber of Commerce for this opportunity to discuss what concrete action we can take to promote sustainable transport. You do important work, and I’m happy to be here. This session is about action and, in my view, climate policy is about both ambition and action.

1) First, we need ambition. As environment minister of the Netherlands I will do my best to negotiate a new global climate agreement. I’m sure that’s the aim of everyone involved. This new agreement needs to incorporate all the countries’ INDCs, address both mitigation and adaptation, lay down long-term goals and an ambitious mechanism to achieve them, and provide for participation by regional and local authorities and the business community.

2) But I also want to do something! I want action. I want to raise the ambitions of the parties involved and accelerate the search for real-world solutions for cutting carbon emissions. In consultation with the initiators of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda I’ve chosen to focus on the transport sector. The Netherlands has established successful business cases for a more sustainable transport sector. We want to share these with the transport community. Under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda we will help mobilise low-carbon transport initiatives from around the world. These will be presented in Paris as concrete solutions for reducing emissions. Let me tell you why, how and when.

Worldwide, transport accounts for a quarter of annual CO2 emissions. In terms of energy consumption, the transport sector tops the charts in 40 per cent of countries, and takes second place almost everywhere else. Transport emissions are growing by an average of two per cent a year. Since 1990, road transport emissions have increased by an astounding 64 per cent.

Clearly, then, we need to reduce emissions. But we can’t simply cut back on transport movements. That’s down to three worldwide trends: population growth, urbanisation and increasing life expectancy. These trends increase demand for food and goods, which need to be delivered to consumers. So, in the decades ahead, transport movements will increase, too.

So how can we cut emissions?
There’s only one solution: by combining smart climate action with sustainable economic growth. I see many opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. That’s good news for the climate. And there are other benefits, too. Innovation in sustainable transport delivers economic added value. According to the International Energy Agency, the world can save a mind-boggling 70 trillion dollars between now and 2050 by switching to sustainable transport and mobility. Seventy trillion dollars! It’s hard to imagine. But what it also means is: the future is ours for the taking.

What will we do and when?
Everything I’ve said so far is not rocket science. Many countries, businesses and other parties know what’s at stake. And many of them have already taken action. And that’s the point I want to make: we can only present a strong, worldwide business case for sustainable transport by collecting best practices and combining them to create a more ambitious goal. That’s why I warmly support the work of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport: moving ahead, listing actions and underpinning them with concrete results.

That’s the approach we will take, too. We will work with stakeholders, governments, businesses and transport NGOs to identify best practices in sustainable transport – to inspire others in the industry. The Netherlands fully supports this process. I’ve formed a small task force of experts and asked them to collect these best practices over the next 80 days, put them into context, research the preconditions and present the results as real-world solutions at the Climate Summit in Paris.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Showing what works in practice is the best form of persuasion. And that’s where I need your help. I’m asking you to get involved in this process. To share your experiences, your ideas, your projects and especially your results. Because that’s what we need to build a strong global coalition for sustainable transport. Let’s present Paris with a very persuasive narrative full of results.

Thank you.