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ASEAN’s transport sector contributions to combating climate change: INDC analysis

In the run-up to COP21 in Paris, countries are communicating their Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UNFCCC. INDCs show which actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and increase climate resilience (adaptation) countries will be taking. As of 22 October 2015, approximately 155 countries have submitted their INDCs (see UNFCCC website), out of which eight are ASEAN member countries.

Several of these INDCs include two targets for reducing emissions: ‘unconditional’ and ‘conditional’, the latter being subject to e.g. ‘provision of a global agreement, with possible inclusion of bilateral agreements, covering technology transfer, payment for performance mechanisms, technical cooperation, and access to financial resources’ (Indonesia’s INDC). Examples are 8%(unconditional) to 25% (conditional, Vietnam), ‘about 70%’ (conditional, the Philippines) below business-as-usual in 2030, stabilisation of emissions (Singapore) or mentioning specific mitigation actions (Myanmar). All countries include information on adaptation actions in various sectors.

In their analysis of 120 INDCs, the Partnership for Sustainable, Low-carbon Transport show that 76% of INDCs explicitly identify  the transport sector as a mitigation source. There is however a strong emphasis on passenger transport, with freight (approximately 40% research paper statistical analysis of transport emissions) being mentioned in only 20 INDCs. In some cases, indirect sectoral transport targets are included, e.g. targets for fuel economy, mode shares or clean fuels. A large diversity of specific low-carbon transport apa bibliography capitalization measures is included in the INDCs:

All eight ASEAN countries consider the transport sector in their contributions to climate change mitigation, and five of them include specific actions, roughly comparable to those shown in the graph above. For four countries, these measures are taken in the context of sustainable transport sector plans. Laos specifically includes a transport-focused NAMA. Our full overview of the submitted INDCs is available here.

In various ASEAN countries our project team members have been following the development of the transport sector section of the INDCs. We observed the following:

  • Even if no transport sector details were included in the final INDC, there were extensive discussions as to what the sectoral contribution to the INDC could be;
  • In developing sectoral contributions, some countries mostly relied on consultants, while in others the Ministry of Transport was in the lead, supported by consultants and different institutions and in some cases our project;
  • Transport-related mitigation options included in the INDCs appear to be based on existing plans and strategies for most countries. Selection of these involved one or more rounds of discussions with stakeholders. There is no evidence that marginal abatement cost curves played a major role, but at least one country was using it;
  • There are significant challenges in estimating business-as-usual emissions, emission reduction potentials of mitigation options, and in some countries, historical emissions. Analyses are done using various kinds of energy-emissions focused models, such as LEAP and AIM (Asia-Pacific-Integrated Model).

The INDC submissions provided promising input to the international climate change community before the crucial COP21, and show the transport sector contributes to mitigation and adaptation. For the future, more detailed and comprehensive low-carbon transport plans, supported by more analysis and data gathering to estimate emissions and reduction potentials, need be designed. Dialogues at the regional level to research paper unit lesson plans, exchange experience, and design strategies based on common trends, could support this.