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Sustainability Monitor

Decarbonising the transport sector in the Global South

by Lukas Lingenthal, Alex Aung Khant

Possibilities, challenges, and reciprocities on the road to climate-neutral mobility

In Germany, the shift towards electromobility is underway, the advantages, but also the shortcomings of public transportation have become part of the public debate ever since the nine-euro ticket emerged, and mobility apps are gaining increasing popularity in cities. All this is supposed to contribute to the decarbonisation of transport. But what is the situation in the countries that are expected to experience the greatest population growth in the coming decades and thus have a steadily increasing need for mobility?

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On the topic of climate neutrality, it can generally be said that the use of individual vehicles in the Global South plays a subordinate role compared to, for example, Europe or North America. However, these regions will experience significant population growth in the coming decades, and at the same time motorisation will increase year by year. The number of vehicles in use worldwide will more than double from about 1.4 billion today to an estimated three billion in 2050. The topic of decarbonising the transport sector, also in the Global South, should therefore not be underestimated in its relevance to international climate policy and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Adding to the aspect of local transport systems and their decarbonisation, there are a multitude of interactions between the Global South and Europe. In the pursuit of truly sustainable mobility, these must be kept in mind - starting with the raw materials and energy needed for the electrification of transport, through the international used car market, the role of development cooperation, all the way to industrially and geopolitically strategic questions about technology and infrastructure projects.

Some of these interrelationships will be highlighted and provide an overview of priorities and strategies for CO2 avoidance in the transport sector in countries of the Global South.

Read the entire Monitor: "Decarbonising the Transport Sector in the Global South" from our Sustainability Series here as a PDF.

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Gisela Elsner

Gisela Elsner kas

Global Sustainability Policy Officer and KAS Advice and Complaints Officer +49 30 26996-3759


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About this series

The publications of the Sustainability Monitor are part of our Monitor publication series. The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.