PARIS: December 12, 2015. At the end of what could prove to be an historic UN climate meeting, representatives from nearly 200 countries have agreed to hold the increase in global average temperatures "to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C".
Assuming government leaders adopt the draft proposal, they will have from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017 to sign and ratify the legally binding agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
However the 29-article agreement will only be applicable in international law if there are at least 55 signatories accounting for at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
And even if a country does sign the document, under Article 28 it has three years to make up its mind whether to withdraw from it and, if so, a further year before such a withdrawal takes effect.
The UN climate meeting in Paris was country rather than sector specific and therefore air and sea transport emission reduction remains the responsibility of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively.
Acknowledging this, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched a new partnership with Nestle, Scania and UPS to tackle emissions from road freight transport under its Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative.
According to the WBCSD, the world's transport sector produced 7.0 billion tonnes of CO2e of direct GHG emissions in 2010 – or approximately 23 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions.
In 2013, air transport produced 12 percent of all transport-sourced emissions and in 2012 international maritime shipping accounted for approximately 2.1 percent - with box ships producing 25 percent of that total.
With road freight producing 74 percent of the transport total in 2013, the WBCSD says it is one of the fastest growing sectors - particularly in emerging and developing economies.
The organization's new initiative aims to demonstrate the potential of road freight collaboration to help meet a 48 percent reduction in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.
The solutions being proposed includes improving the accessibility of cutting edge fleet optimization tools to small and medium sized enterprises, co-optimizing multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and sharing distribution centers and truck assets.