Transport accounts for 23% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, making it the second-largest emitter after electricity and heat generation (42%). Transport CO2 emissions have increased by 57% between 1990 and 2012, and the sector has lagged behind in decarbonising. In the EU, transport CO2 emissions increased by 36% from 1990-2007, while other major sectors reduced theirs by about 15%. Recent decreases in transport CO2 emissions had more to do with the economic crisis, rather than a shift to greener forms of transport. 

©Rickey Rogers/Reuters

Did you know that Brazil is among the most biodiverse countries in the world? Along with hosting one-tenth of all-known species of flora and fauna, it is home to the largest rainforest on the planet. 

©AFP/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/NURPHOTO

The UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November-December is the final crucial step in a year which has set forth several global milestones towards shaping a better common future. Tackling climate change is a determining factor in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in New York in September 2015 in particular; an agreement in Paris would not only bolster all the efforts that led to the historic SDGs, but lift the hopes of everyone on the planet, especially the most vulnerable. 

"Regional authorities in Africa are now getting involved in the fight against climate change by making concrete commitments."

Click to enlarge. By StiK, especially for the OECD Observer

©Olivier Martin-Gambier

OECD Business brief

"Electric vehicles are the only practical, affordable solution to our planet’s environmental challenges–and they are available today. To get the most out of it, there is one condition: we need to act on a much larger scale. Also, the policy makers at the state and regional level must continue to encourage the switch to zero-emission vehicles."

©AFP/Tripelon-Jarry

"We want to step out of the vicious circle of an economy which is an increasing drain on resources, and enter another circle… Paris is fully committed to combating climate change and determined to move forward as quickly as possible."  –Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris 

Wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower ©SETE- Photopointcom

Already a showcase when it was opened for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower continues to light the way forward today, with sustainability being a feature on the monument’s new first floor unveiled in 2014.

©CBADET

Near to the Paris ring road, shielded from the din of the motorway by an apartment block, nestled between two high-rises, lies an oasis of peace. It is a community garden created by Multi’Colors, and is just one of the many “urban sanctuaries” it has created in underprivileged neighbourhoods in and around the French capital.

©Charlotte Moreau

A residential site on the rue Saint Charles in the 15th arrondissement of Paris was the first retrofit under the Climate Plan led by the city’s property management agency, Régie Immobilière de la Ville de Paris (RIVP). The project proved complex but exemplary, not just in its implementation and execution, but also in terms of managing relationships.

©Vectuel-Studiosezz-PBA

In Paris, a major redevelopment in the illustrious Clichy-Batignolles district has set environmental goals of unprecedented ambition, paving the way for contemporary urban planning that offers better solutions to energy and climate concerns.

An ecological transition has been necessary for many years. It has now become vital. Faced with the prospect of the total destruction of people and the environment, we must send out an equally uncompromising wake-up call on the ties that bind humans and nature.

Oil, gas and coal represent over 80% of energy use worldwide, and are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions and other unhealthy pollutants. These fossil fuels also drive the likes of transport, industrial output, lighting, heating and construction, and naturally their use is heavily concentrated in urban areas. Roughly half the world’s population live in urban areas, and as towns and cities are an important generator of emissions, they must also play a key role in the fight against climate change.

©Jackie Naegelen/Reuters

Faced with heavy pollution and congested roads, Paris is turning to electric vehicles to restore air quality. Its incentive policies for all forms of transport should inspire cities all over the world to follow suit.

©Orelie Grimaldi

Over the last century, resource extraction from non-renewable stocks has grown while extraction from renewable stocks has declined, reflecting the shift in the global economy base from agriculture to industry. 

What role can nuclear energy play in combating climate change? According to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), it can play a very pivotal one.

©TUAC

A structural shift to a low-carbon economy will entail gains in jobs, but also losses, and the first jobs to be lost are not those that you think. A just energy transition will be needed, but how? 

Policies that are not aligned with efforts to fight global warming risk hindering the transition to a low-carbon economy, and can worsen climate change. They should be addressed. 

©Reuters/Stringer

The human economy is a physical system embedded in society, which itself is embedded in a finite global ecosystem. The primary goal of the economy should be to meet basic human and social needs, now and in the future, without degrading the global ecosystem services upon which all life depends. How can this be done?

UNDP Pole to Paris project video

Don't miss this video from the United Nations Development Program, where two scientists tell us just why they are running and cycling all the way from the poles to Paris. 

Policy makers should do much more to encourage pension funds and other institutional investors to put their ample assets into sustainable energy infrastructure. The wins would be significant. The question is how? 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide have been trending upwards for decades. A small group of large countries is responsible for the lion’s share of these global emissions.

Click to enlarge.
See StatLink for further breakdown: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/data-00735-en

In tackling climate change, it makes sense for policymakers to know which sectors greenhouse-gas emissions are coming from. Our chart shows the main sources for European carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, including electricity supply, manufacturing, households and transportation. Household emissions are largely generated from fossil fuel energy used to heat dwellings, but some of the other industry sources are more complex.

How will workers’ current skills match new requirements for labour in a green economy? So far, few countries have put in place real plans to address this question, yet there is risk of a significant mismatch between skills and jobs. Would you know who to call if your geothermal system crashes? Should construction workers learn new skills for retrofitting buildings?

If the world is to make a dent on climate change, breaking the arm-lock of fossil fuels is inevitable. After all, limiting the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2°C by the end of the 21st century demands curbing greenhouse-gas emissions between 40% and 70% by 2050 compared with 2010 levels, which means replacing fossil fuels–coal, oil and gas–with low-carbon energy sources and developing technologies to capture and store CO2.

Freshwater is essential for life, yet makes up only a tiny fraction of all water on earth. In many areas, especially arid and dry regions, underground aquifers are the only source. Even in less arid regions, groundwater provides an essential resource: in fact, some 2.6 billion people worldwide rely on groundwater resources. Farming is one major reason: over 60% of irrigated agriculture in the US uses groundwater, and in Spain more than 70% of irrigation comes from below ground reserves.    

OECD

A warming planet and a flat world economy have propelled the issue of investment in clean energy to the top of the policy agenda. The question has become all the more crucial in view of the landmark global summit on climate change to be held in Paris in December 2015. 

In my first climate change lecture, nearly two years ago, my key message was that meeting the challenge of climate change required us to achieve zero net greenhouse emissions globally by the end of this century. 

A transition to a low-carbon economy is achievable, but will require a concerted, more consistent effort across a range of policy areas, from tradeable permits to stringent norms.

Challenging free trade orthodoxy is a heavy lift in our political culture; anything that has been in place for that long takes on an air of inevitability. But, critical as these shifts are, they are not enough to lower emissions in time. To do that, we will need to confront a logic even more entrenched than free trade—the logic of indiscriminate economic growth. This idea has understandably inspired a good deal of resistance among more liberal climate watchers, who insist that the task is merely to paint our current growth-based economic model green, so it's worth examining the numbers behind the claim. 

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.2% Q4 2019
Consumer price inflation: 1.7% March 2020
Trade (G20): -0.1% exp, -1.3% imp, Q4 2019
Unemployment: 5.6% March 2020
Sharp drop in OECD leading indicators point to darker outlook: Last update: 14 May 2020

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