Mobility represents roughly a quarter of global CO2 emissions from energy, of which 60% from heavy-duty transport – trucking, shipping and aviation. Mobility needs are strongly correlated with global economic growth. While the future of surface transport appears to be electric, decarbonisation of long-distance shipping and aviation will likely require low-emissions liquid fuels from bio or synthetic sources.

ETC Transport
of CO2 emissions per annum
growth expected in heavy-duty transport volumes by 2050

Electric engines are inherently more efficient that internal combustion engines, making electrification a preferred decarbonisation route for transportation whenever it is technically feasible. Electric cars are expected to reach cost-parity with internal combustion engine vehicles in the 2020s, which, if underpinned by a decarbonised power system, should drive decarbonisation of a large share of surface transport.

Decarbonisation of trucking, shipping and aviation represents a bigger challenge, as battery electric vehicles are unlikely to be feasible for long distances. But ETC analysis has demonstrated that it is still possible to achieve net-zero emissions from those modes using other low-emissions fuels. In our Mission Possible report, we have:

  • Outlined how to reduce emissions in the short term through modal shifts and improved mobility systems efficiency;
  • Described which segments of trucking, shipping and aviation could potentially be addressed by batteries and how far that range could be expanded through the use of hydrogen fuel cells;
  • Analysed how to decarbonise long-distance shipping and aviation through the use of low-lifecycle-emissions liquid fuels produced from sustainable bio-feedstocks and from synthetic sources.

With our partners in the Mission Possible Platform, we are now working with industry leaders in the trucking, shipping and aviation value chains to accelerate innovation, inform transport policy, create demand for low-emissions freight and for low-emissions passenger transport, and boost financing of the transport transition.