Global Fuel Economy Initiative hailed as ‘inspiration to others’ at COP21
The Global Fuel Economy Initiative, a partnership of 6 organisations hosted by the FIA Foundation which aims to reduce emissions from vehicles, has played a key role in the global climate change conference COP21, in Paris. At the conference nearly 200 countries agreed to keep global temperature rises ‘well below’ 2 degrees and pursue actions to reduce emissions.
The GFEI’s campaign – ‘100 for 50by50’ – was developed to gather new country commitments to the improvement of fuel economy, and was part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Accelerator programme, and the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), putting GFEI at the centre of key discussions during COP21. 40 new countries joined in GFEI’s work, taking the total to 65. Furthermore, new fuel economy policies form a key part of many governments’ INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) which set out a country’s proposed actions for the next 5 years to reduce emissions, and which are the cornerstone of the new climate agreement.
The GFEI was extensively showcased at the meeting, including both the Energy and Transport thematic sessions of the LPAA, at which Sheila Watson, Director of Environment and Research at the FIA Foundation and Executive Secretary of GFEI, announced 40 new countries joining GFEI, $7 million in new funding to support the next stages of work on this issue, including €1 million from the FIA Foundation, as well as highlighting key findings from GFEI’s latest research – ‘Fuel Economy State of the World 2016: Time for global action’. The report, which was formally launched at an official side event, highlighting pathways to low carbon transport systems. Drew Kojak, Executive Director of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), highlighted current levels of progress and the need for more ambitious standards to achieve world-class levels in developed countries and new standards in many parts of the world. The report shows that new fuel economy policies could save 33 Gt of CO2 and $8 trillion in total by 2050, although only if policy is put in place to support this crucial aspect of energy efficiency. Other highlights of GFEI’s engagement in COP21 included:
- A GFEI side event highlighting fuel efficiency at the PPMC (Paris Process on Mobility and Climate) Transport day on Sunday 6th December. In the afternoon plenary, Ministers from Mauritius, Costa Rica and the Ivory Coast also highlighted how they have included fuel economy work as part of their INDCs whilst Sheila Watson called on the UNFCCC and world leaders to create the vital policy framework to advance this issue;
- GFEI was also featured in the ‘Climate Generations’ public exhibition arena at COP21, in the morning of Monday 7th December, with Lew Fulton of UC Davis and Professor Geoffrey Wahungu (Director General of the Kenyan National Environment Management Authority), setting out the range of tools governments have to improve fuel economy. GFEI also featured in side events with the OECD and Dutch government highlighting the importance of fuel economy.
- In the LPAA events on Transport and Energy, GFEI was represented by Sheila Watson and the Chilean Vice-Ministers of Transport and Environment, Christian Bowen Garfias and Marcelo Mena respectively. The Ministers both highlighted how Chile has progressively adopted new policies to reduce emissions, including labelling and tax-based schemes to improve fuel economy and air quality. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, described GFEI as a ‘model alliance that should inspire other sectors’. Delegates were also shown a new film about GFEI which encapsulates what the initiative is about; its ambitious aims, and track record of action.
Overall, this was an extremely successful intervention at COP21 for GFEI, building awareness and support for what is now the leading global initiative on fuel economy, recognised worldwide as a vital source of expertise, policy support and advocacy on the issue. With the adoption of the Paris Agreement, GFEI is well placed to work with countries and other partners for practical delivery.