Transport and climate action – how does it work?

Editorial by Michael Sailer, CEO, Oeko-Institut

Perhaps, like many of my colleagues at the Oeko-Institut, you took the train to your holiday destination this summer and rented a bicycle when you arrived. Or instead of taking two long-haul trips, perhaps you spent one long “staycation” in your own country for a change. In Germany, we might choose the Baltic coast, the Black Forest or the Taunus mountains. Like sustainable transport as a whole, green tourism has many different facets. Here at the Oeko-Institut, we are working on a range of sustainable transport topics in order to answer one question: how can the transport sector help to mitigate climate change? Clearly, it’s not enough to make cars more efficient if they are then used more often or for longer journeys. We believe it takes a package of good ideas to make transport sustainable. Car sharing, for example, can offer a genuine alternative to car ownership. Cities can take targeted action to encourage walking and cycling. And there’s scope to shift freight off the roads and onto rail, thus reducing noise and pollution … these are just a few examples.

We explore some of these topics and questions in this latest issue of eco@work. We look at some of the entry points and solutions to make transport more climate-friendly, and think about how this will affect its carbon footprint. We consider how policy-makers can create incentives for everyone to change their transport behaviour. And we focus on electromobility and especially its implications for the energy sector – for if our electric vehicles are to run on green power to make them genuinely emission-free, this will affect demand for wind and solar.

Sustainable mobility will also be the focus of our annual meeting this year. Its topic is “Priority climate protection – strategies for future transport”. By exploring policy options to turn innovative transport concepts into reality, we aim to create fresh impetus for the debate about transport-related climate action and ensure that it genuinely addresses key sustainability issues.

I do hope you will join us at this meeting, which will take place in Berlin on 12 November. Information about the programme and how to register – free of charge – is available at www.oeko.de/en/annualconference2014.

Until then, we hope you enjoy reading this issue of eco@work.

Michael Sailer
CEO, Oeko-Institut