IPM-CSD 19: On transport

3/4/2011 // Ms. Marianne Krey-Jacobsen, Higher Executive Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented Norway's statement on transport during the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for the 19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development on 1 March, 2011.

Transport and mobility are instrumental in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. As such, transport should serve society with minimum disruption and damage to the environment and to people’s health. However, carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector, in particular from cars in urban areas, pose a major problem worldwide. We therefore believe that vehicles that run only on fossil fuels should be phased out and replaced by vehicles that are not dependent on such fuels. Policy instruments should aim at making it more attractive for travelers and transport buyers to choose climate‐efficient alternatives. Key measures to reach these goals consist in the improvement of public transport systems, combined with taxation systems aimed at discouraging the use of vehicles with a high level of carbon dioxide emissions.

In fact, providing the public with an alternative to using the car is fundamental in order to reduce emissions. This is why developing public transport systems that provide users with affordable, safe and user friendly transport is essential.

Policy instruments should seek to place the financial responsibility on those responsible for producing the negative effects on society caused by the transport sector. Financial instruments such as taxes, charges and subsidies are cost effective measures that may create incentives for more environmentally friendly behavior.

In Norway taxation is the primary instrument for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Taxing emissions of carbon dioxide is a very cost effective way of reducing the contribution of greenhouse gas to the environment. This means that by applying this instrument, even more ambitious climate goals can be reached. The tax paid when purchasing a new car is also differentiated in accordance with the vehicle’s level of carbon dioxide emissions.

Local road pricing schemes constitute yet another effective instrument to reduce traffic in larger cities.

A combined policy for land use and transport is critical to obtain sustainable transport. In all transport packages for cities, involving state funding or road charging, Norway tries to combine all transport and land use measures. Our goal is to encourage further use of public transport, as well as cycling and walking, thereby aiming at reducing the use of private vehicles, and hence also emissions of carbon dioxide.  

It is Norway’s view that policy interventions like the ones we have outlined are paramount in order to ensure more sustainable transport systems. We are aware that policies for transport depend on the country specific context, and that there are no one size fits all solutions to the different challenges faced by countries. But we believe that we can compile best practices to include in a set of policy options for sustainable transport.

 It’s Norway’s opinion that CSD 19 should promote sustainable transport as an essential part of low carbon growth strategies.

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