DecarboN8 International Conference 2021: ‘Real Zero’ in a Hurry – place-based decarbonisation for transport

Transport is the major sector where emissions remain stubbornly high. In the run up to COP26, this online conference explores place-based solutions for decarbonising transport at the pace implied by the Paris Agreement. All sectors and disciplines welcome.

How can we shift from three decades of drift in climate policy in the transport sector to move to rapid, deep and early reductions in emissions in line with the carbon budgets implied by the Paris Agreement? How can the theoretical pathways be translated into socially deliverable actions? Or do we need a different basis for planning this radical transition?

Climate change is a global problem but getting transport to zero emissions will require coordination across international, national, regional, and local jurisdictions. Different places face different transport challenges, have different resources, and will require different solutions. Too often however, technological pathways assume away the important geographical, historical, technological and sociological contexts which shape what will work where and how any such decisions will impact across populations. The DecarboN8 network was established specifically to develop a place-based understanding of decarbonisation. This conference builds on DecarboN8’s experiences, seeks to challenge broad-brush technocratic approaches to climate change, and to promote the development of a place-based understanding of socially just transition to zero carbon transport.

The DecarboN8 Conference welcomes contributions from around the world to look at what works where (and why) and what will need to be done to deliver the transition. The conference invites contributions from across the spectrum of interests and interventions required to deliver the radical change needed. It looks upstream to whole life-cycle implications, across to the integration with wider energy systems, as well as addressing how we move people and goods and how much mobility that might entail. It welcomes analysis of people, communities, activities, businesses and governments as key actors.

Two elements mark out this conference as different from other decarbonisation events. First, is the emphasis on place-based thinking. This is about understanding how rapid decarbonisation is actually going to work on the ground. The second (related) emphasis is on societal readiness. How can transport decarbonisation be delivered in ways that enhance, rather than detract from, human wellbeing and flourishing? What about people, communities, cultures and generations who are often forgotten in discussions about transport? How do different people experience and interact with different mobility systems and expectations – past, present, and future – and how can such understandings inform action?

The DecarboN8 International Conference’s framing is ‘Real Zero’. Many nations have set ‘Net Zero’ targets which allow creative carbon accounting: promising that today’s carbon overspend will be paid off by future generations through expensive and as-yet unproven (at scale) negative emissions technologies. For us ‘Net Zero’ can imply inaction and the privileging of emissions for aviation, which has huge equity implications. Our focus is on how to reduce emissions from transport to ‘Real Zero’ to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Find out more and register.