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Over the past twenty years, the Chinese transport sector has undergone a monumental transformation. Today, China is the world’s largest car market, has the planet’s largest High-Speed Rail (HSR) system, is the world’s second largest civil aviation market and houses seven of the planet’s ten largest container ports. An astounding achievement considering the country had under 20,000 registered private cars in 1985 and not a single HSR line until 2008. Simply phrased, China has ‘put the pedal to the metal’. However, China’s rise came along with alarming environmental and climate change issues as transport emissions have increased more than tenfold since 1980. Today, China is not only the world’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, but its transport sector is the country’s third largest contributor. Furthermore, China is plagued by notorious air pollution that provokes alarming health concerns amongst its 1.4 billion strong population. With incomes continuing to grow among…

The transport sector represents the biggest challenge for climate policy The German government has set the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 (reference year: 1990). To achieve this requires complete decarbonization, which means largely giving up the burning of fossils. All sectors must contribute to this transition. While many sectors have seen major emissions reductions in recent years, the transport sector, which accounts for almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, has shown a slight increase (see Figure 1). The major contributor to this rise is road transport due to increases in demand for transport, engine performance and vehicle weight since 1990, offsetting any improvements to efficiency over the same period. The German government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 includes the ambitious medium-term goal of a 40-42% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in transport sector by 2030. Heated political and juristic discussions are currently underway in German cities…