Decarbonisation – Zero emission mobility starts now!

BMLFUW/Florian Köfler

His Excellency Andrä Rupprechter, Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW) with Dr Piroska Östlin, Director, Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, WHO/Europe.

Taking stock of climate change challenges and the priorities set out in the Paris Agreement, the international Klimaaktiv Mobil conference “Decarbonisation – Zero emission mobility starts now!” took place in Vienna, Austria, on 13–15 July 2016. The conference focused on highlighting a vision for the progressive achievement of decarbonization and zero emission transport, presenting a broad range of good-practices for electric mobility management, eco-driving and green logistics, on both an international and national and local levels. It also discussed the increasingly important role that can and should be played by more cycling and walking, supported by safe and attractive infrastructure and efficient public transport.

The conference was organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management; and the Austrian Economic Chamber, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology; and the Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs.

It was held under the framework of the WHO and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Transport, Health and Environment Pan European Programme (THE PEP).

Multiple benefits of zero emission mobility

Addressing the conference on behalf of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, remarked on the importance of ensuring that policy options for decarbonizing transport consider their health and environment effects. In particular she stressed how a combination of cycling and walking, electric mobility, mobility management, green logistics and eco-driving can be effective at decarbonizing transport and, at the same time, promoting physical activity, and reducing ambient air pollution and noise.

In turn this would contribute to the achievement of several of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, notably on health, climate change and cities, in the spirit of the whole-of government and whole-of society-approaches advocated by Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being.

About the Paris Agreement

The United Nations Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of the right to health in the actions to be taken by Member States when addressing climate change, and represents a tremendous opportunity to promote climate mitigation and adaptation policies that can also deliver co-benefits for the health of the current and future generations.

Achieving the Paris Agreement will require major shifts towards decarbonization, energy efficiency and renewable energies. This is especially true for the future of mobility and transport system and calls for a significant decrease of today´s transport dependency on fossil fuels.