Transport • The energy transition in the transport sector is struggling to keep up with the growing mobility demand

Global transport emissions, which were severely affected by the pandemic, have resumed their upward trajectory, while confirming certain transition trends. While electrification is progressing, low-carbon technologies for local and international mobility remain marginal in the global energy system.

Publication date



Antoine Gillod • Director of the Global Observatory of Climate Action

The transition from fossil-fuelled to electric engines is overtaken by growing demand for transport

  • Since the Paris Agreement, global CO2 emissions from transport have been rising, except in the OECD countries, where it is slightly contracting. Demand for mobility is growing in the Global South, while efforts to reduce demand are still in their early days.
  • The success of electric car sales in Europe and China has not yet dented the hegemony of oil, which has been eroded by biofuels only in a handful of countries (Norway, Sweden, Brazil…).
  • Carmakers, whose sales have been falling for the past five years, have resolutely embarked on their transition, but the “SUVization” of the market is wiping out efficiency gains made possible by electrification.
  • The mitigation roadmaps for international air and sea transport promote alternative fuels which remain marginal and do not address the growth in demand.
  • The supply and demand for high-speed rail is expanding, particularly in China. Europe is gradually rehabilitating night trains and short-distance rail, while India has electrified its lines on a massive scale.