Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport

Project description

Title: Sino-German Cooperation on Low Carbon Transport
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: China
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Transport (MoT); National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
Overall term: 2015 to 2019

China. Trolleybus and cyclists in Beijing. GIZ is advising Chinese authorities on reducing emissions in the urban transport sector. The public and non-motorised transport modes play a key role in low carbon urban transport. (Photo: Daniel Bongardt) © GIZ


In 2011, China’s transport sector generated around 628 million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to 7.8 per cent of all energy-related emissions (Germany, 2011: 149 million metric tons of CO2). Over 100 million private passenger cars were registered in China in 2013, with more than 35,000 new registrations each day. The total volume of freight transport is rising rapidly: from 13.6 billion metric tons in 2000 to 45 billion in 2013. The rise in traffic and vehicle ownership is resulting in high levels of air pollution, space consumption, traffic jams and noise, particularly in towns and cities. If no further action is taken, the negative impacts from this sector will continue to worsen.

China has made an international commitment to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020 as compared with 2005 levels. Within its 12th Five-Year Plan, China set the intermediate target of reducing carbon intensity by 17 per cent between 2010 and 2015. Absolute emission targets are also being discussed for the first time for the 13th Five-Year Plan. Action is needed first and foremost in the areas of urban and freight transport.

In order to mitigate the negative impacts of growing demand for mobility in towns and cities, public passenger transport networks have been massively expanded, and restrictive regulations (for instance driving bans and vehicle registration limitations) have been introduced. First market-based instruments are carried out such as parking fees and congestion charges. Increasingly, however, cities lack the funds they need to expand and maintain sustainable urban transport systems.

Within the freight transport sector, emission reductions can be primarily achieved through cooperation between forwarding agents to increase capacity utilisation and through optimisation of routes. Replacing and improving propulsion technologies as well as optimising fleet management and driving behaviour can also contribute to greater efficiency.


Decision-makers in relevant government authorities have strategies for low carbon development of China’s transport sector and for exploiting potential energy savings to reduce CO2 emissions.


The project supports the Sino-German policy dialogue on climate change mitigation strategies in the transport sector with a focus on both urban and freight transport. The policy dialogue is further enhanced by the establishment of an international council of experts, which facilitates the exchange of experiences and intensive advisory support all the way to the director general and vice-ministerial level.

At the core of the project is the exploitation of potential energy savings. The partners are advised on the development of a set of emission quantification tools to model low carbon transport development scenarios on the national level as well as emissions generated by urban and freight transport. Measurements are being performed that provide an impetus for strategy development in addition to quantifying the success from implementing activities and strategies.

Piloting policies and measures related to transport efficiency and to standards for the use of technologies provides urban and private sector actors with information about mitigation options, and demonstrates their feasibility. These measures directly contribute to the development and implementation of robust climate change mitigation strategies.