• iCS - Climate and Society

Decarbonization of Transportation sheds light on a sector of the economy

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

On December 6, Instituto Clima e Sociedade – iCS, along with the German Embassy in Brazil and IEMA – Instituto de Energia e Meio Ambiente (Energy and Environment Institute), organized the “International Meeting on Decarbonization of Transportation”, in Brasília. This was the second event in the “Dialogues for a Sustainable Future” series, created as a partnership between iCS and the Embassy. The event had 105 participants and live Youtube streaming.

The transportation sector accounts for a significant share of total greenhouse gas emissions and it is one of the sectors that is more often the target of decarbonization efforts in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted under the Paris Agreement. During the event, the participants discussed experiences and strategies, highlighting Brazil’s commitments and the reduction of emissions in urban mobility and in the cargo sector.


Ana Toni, the executive director of iCS and a facilitator of the opening table, stressed that more than 77% of transportation in Brazil is still individual and prioritizes fossil fuels – a number that demonstrates the role played by the sector in terms of emissions and the great opportunity for change. “It’s not so much a matter of reducing current emissions, but of avoiding future emissions, thinking of a new development model. There is a lack of integration of public policies in the area of ​​transportation and research. We must look for solutions that go beyond technological and fuel changes. Those are critical matters, but they are not enough. We have to look for integration plans between modes of transportation and energy efficiency”, she said.


Germany’s experience was described by Georg Witschel, the European country’s ambassador to Brazil. According to him, the major goal pursued in Germany is to replace fossil fuel supply with renewable energy sources. This, he says, is an important point of analysis for Brazil: addressing climate protection means moving ahead in a number of sectors, not just reducing deforestation. In a scenario of changes of this magnitude, private enterprises have a fundamental role to play.

“New development means great challenges that must be faced by our companies, but, on the other hand, it also brings about countless possibilities. Anyone who bravely stands in the vanguard has a great chance of conquering the market in the future. New jobs will be created with innovative offers on community and freight transportation. In Germany, we want to reduce emissions by between 40% and 42% by 2030. Although we have a difficult road ahead of us, we are hopeful that we will be able to achieve this goal”, he said.


According to André Ferreira, the CEO of IEMA, an iCS grantee, the NDCs have a common approach, focused on reducing the number of vehicles, in a search for new technologies and fuels, but they fail to properly address the patterns of displacement of passengers and goods.


“The focus on vehicle technology rather than on a shift of modes of transportation and on a reduction in travel demand needs to be deepened. In 2016, we reached 48% of emissions from transportation. Therefore, after deforestation, transportation is undoubtedly a major challenge in Brazil. Half of these emissions are generated from passenger transportation, while the other half corresponds to freight transportation in Brazil – trucks alone generate almost twice as much emissions as electricity generation”, he concluded.

Currently, according to André, Brazil does not have a long-term public plan for energy and transportation, only the 10-year plan and the integrated national logistics plan, both of which have little articulation with other sectors. It is of fundamental importance to integrate Public Power, private sector and civil society to find solutions together, and events like this work to promote dialogue and discuss new actions and strategies.


During the day, three panels were also held, with the following topics and panelists:


International Experiences in Decarbonization of Transportation

Harry Lehmann, Managing Director of the German Federal Environment Service (Umweltbundesamt)

José Gomes Mendes, Assistant Secretary of State for the Environment of Portugal and of the Alliance for the Decarbonization of Transportation – TDA

Carolina Tohá, Former Mayor of Santiago, Chile, and Co-Chair of the UN General Secretary’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport – UNSG

Carmen Araújo, Consultant with The International Council on Clean Transportation – icct


Proposals to Decarbonize Brazilian Transportation

Martha Martorelli, Planning Manager, National Office of Urban Mobility, Brazilian Ministry of Cities

Clarisse Linke, Executive Director of the Institute for Transport and Development Policies – ITDP Brasil

Juan Pablo Mikan Pizano, Technical Advisor of the Planning and Logistics Company – EPL

Walter Figueiredo de Simoni, Coordinator of the Urban Mobility Portfolio of Instituto Clima e Sociedade – iCS.


Trends, Technologies and Innovations in Decarbonization of Transportation

Holger Dalkmann, Senior Consultant, Agora Transports (Verkehrswende)

Leandro Siqueira, Director of Product Development and Portfolio Management at Volkswagen/MAN

Plínio Nastari, Chairman of DATAGRO, Sugar and Ethanol Market Analysis

Aline Cavalcanti, Cycling activist and Coordinator of the Climate and Active Mobility Coalition, CCMob


Final Lecture

Eimair Bottega Ebeling, Director of the  Department of Policy and Integrated Planning, Ministry of Transportation, Ports and Civil Aviation


Click on the links below to download the materials:

Carolina Tohá_Plan Integral de Movilidad Sostenible de Santiago

HLehmann – Transport Decarbonisation

Holger Dalkmann_Towards an International Verkehrswende

André Ferreira_IEMA_Desafios para a Descarbonização dos Transportes no Brasil e o Acordo de Paris

Aline Cavalcante_Papel dos transportes ativos na redução de emissões dos transportes

ITDP – Clarisse Linke – Propostas para descarbonizar o transporte

José Gomes Mendes – Transport Decarbonisation

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