New BSR, Cambridge Report Outlines Climate Risks for Transport Sector

New BSR, Cambridge Report Outlines Climate Risks for Transport Sector

13-Part Series Translates IPCC Fifth Assessment for Business
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New @BSRnews, @cisl_cambridge report outlines #climate risks for transport sector

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Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 8:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Business in a Climate-Compatible World

CONTENT: Press Release

San Francisco, July 28, 2014 /3BL Media/ - new report published jointly by BSR and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Cambridge Judge Business School, with support from the European Climate Foundation, distills the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report for the transportation sector—including road, rail, air, and ocean shipping.

The report, one in a 13-part series that translates the IPCC assessments for business leaders, reveals that the transport sector accounts for about a quarter of global energy-related carbon emissions—and without aggressive and sustained policy intervention, direct transport carbon emissions could double by 2050.

“The transport sector relies overwhelmingly on oil,” said Angie Farrag-Thibault, one of the report’s lead authors and BSR’s Associate Director, Transport and Logistics. “Without action, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation will continue to rise. Fortunately, this report points to a large number of options for reducing emissions.”

Findings from the report include:

  • Impacts of climate change—including more intense droughts and floods, heat waves, thawing permafrost, and sea-level rise—could damage transport infrastructure such as roads, railways, and ports, requiring extensive adaptation and changes to route planning in some regions.
  • Transport accounts for about a quarter of global energy-related carbon emissions. This contribution is rising faster than for any other energy end-use sector. Without aggressive and sustained policy intervention, direct transport carbon emissions could double by 2050.
  • Cutting carbon emissions from transport is challenging given the continuing growth in demand and the slow turnover of stock and infrastructure as well as, for some modes, the suitability of alternative fuels with an energy intensity that is equivalent to fossil fuels. Despite a lack of progress to date, the transition required to dramatically reduce emissions could arise from new technologies, infrastructure, and modal shifts; the implementation of stringent policies; and behavior change.
  • Many energy-efficiency measures have a positive return on investment. Examples such as improving aerodynamics, cutting vehicle weight, and bringing engines up to leading-edge standards could cut energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent by 2030. Some of these measures have a negative lifetime cost.
  • Efficient, low-carbon transport systems have significant co-benefits, such as better access to mobility services for the poor, time-saving, energy security, and reduced urban pollution leading to better health. Integrated, far-sighted planning can create resilient, low-carbon-emission transport networks, particularly in new urban areas.

The report also examines the impacts of climate change and considerations by sector of the industry: road, rail, air, and ocean transport. And it looks at opportunities for building climate resilience (through land infrastructure, rail systems, inland waterways, and coastal adaptation) and for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (through modal shifts, demand reduction, vehicle efficiency, reduction in carbon intensity, and policy intervention).

“This report is very valuable for understanding the challenges and opportunities that climate change will pose for the transport sector,” said Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager for Jaguar Land Rover. “Climate change requires a rethink of how we approach parts of the transport system, but new technologies, infrastructure, and modal shifts will offer a way forward that can also deliver new economic and business opportunities. Having clear information on hand is crucial for business leaders to prepare for this transformation.”

Download the report “Climate Change: Implications for Transport.”

This research is part of BSR’s Business in a Climate-Constrained World initiative. For more information about BSR’s work in the transport sector, read about our Clean Cargo Working Group on ocean transport and sustainability, and our Future of Fuels initiative on reducing the sustainability impacts of commercial transportation fuel.

About the Series
This report is one of a series of 13, based on the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). AR5 represents the most comprehensive overview of climate science to date and is the fact base that will used by governments and businesses to formulate climate policy in the coming years. The set of summaries cover the broad implications of climate change, how the IPCCC works, and gives an overview of the physical science, as well as adaptation and mitigation options. The specific summaries cover the energy sector, investors and financial institutions, the transport sector, the tourism industry, the agricultural sector, fisheries and aquaculture, the defense sector, primary industries, cities, buildings, and employment. The full set of summaries will be posted at

About BSR
BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consultingresearch, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

About the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
CISL brings together business, government, and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. Through our educational programmes, business platforms, and strategic engagement initiatives, we deepen leaders’ understanding of the context in which they operate and help them to respond in ways that benefit their organisations and society as a whole. Visit for more information.

About Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS)
CJBS is in the business of transformation. Many of our academics are leaders in their field, creating new insight and applying the latest thinking to real-world issues. Visit for more information.

About the European Climate Foundation (ECF)
ECF was established in 2008 as a major philanthropic initiative to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and to help Europe play an even stronger international leadership role to mitigate climate change. Visit for more information.


Eva Dienel
+1 (415) 984-3233
Associate Director, Communications, BSR
Eliot Whittington
+44 1223 768819
Climate Change Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
CATEGORY: Environment