Decarbonize the transport sector

Keeping our Paris and Glasgow promises to decarbonize the transport sector

The signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 marked an important milestone in combating climate change. And at the COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, world leaders renewed their commitment to climate action, emphasizing the need to further decarbonize the transport sector.

Among other climate pledges, a historic agreement was reached to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. In addition, more than 100 national governments, cities, and businesses committed to ensuring sales of all new cars and vans being zero emissions globally by 2040.

All told, countries that today account for 70 percent of global emissions now have net-zero emissions targets.

However, the transport sector remains one of the world’s single biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 24 precent of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion.

And emissions from aviation and shipping are increasing faster than any other transport mode.


Keeping the promises of Paris and Glasgow

While global sales of electric vehicles continue to rise, they still accounted for less than five percent of new car sales in 2020. And progress has been slow when it comes to the development of electric alternatives for shipping and aviation.

Every little step that helps decarbonize the transport sector is important. But it’s increasingly clear that electrification alone won’t happen fast enough to reach the transport sector emissions goals set out in Paris and Glasgow.

Thus, most of the world’s vehicles will continue to run on combustion engines until at least the late 2030s, which could put the world’s ambitious emissions reduction targets in jeopardy.

However, it’s still possible to keep the promises of Paris and Glasgow despite the continued prevalence of combustion engines on cars, ships, and planes.

By replacing fossil-fuels with sustainable, next generation advanced biofuels derived from renewable biomass such as the forest waste products found in RenFuel’s Lignol, we can still achieve sizeable reductions in transport sector carbon emissions using existing vehicles.

Decarbonize the transport sector and stop deforestation

And it can happen without having to wait (and pay for) the massive infrastructure investments required for full electrification of the transport sector.

While next generation advanced, sustainable biofuels still emit CO2 when burned, they also remove CO2 from the atmosphere during the growth of their feedstock biomass.

Thus, sustainable biofuels are considered a net-zero fuel from a carbon lifecycle perspective. They remove as much CO2 as they emit, in contrast to fossil fuels, which unleash carbon that would otherwise stay trapped beneath the earth’s surface.

And unlike previous generations of biofuels, Lignol from RenFuel doesn’t contribute to deforestation or compete with land that would otherwise be used for agriculture as it is derived from forestry by-products that would otherwise go to waste.

As a result, switching from fossil fuels to sustainable biofuels can not only help decarbonize the transport sector, it is also compatible with another important pledge made in Glasgow to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.