Transport – accounting for 15% of global emissions – is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Transport emissions have grown faster in Asia than anywhere else in the world in recent decades, at an annual rate of 3.9 percent, which is twice the global average of 1.9 percent. Making progress in transport in Asia is vital to reaching the Paris Agreement goals. And this can only be achieved through transformative and systemic change enabled by ambitious transport decarbonization targets, actionable strategies, and comprehensive policy packages supported by funding, reflecting the “Avoid-Shift-Improve” (ASI) approach to reducing transport emissions. This report analyzes how each country’s governance structure and policy planning and development may support or hinder transport decarbonization. It synthesizes information from a review of the academic literature, policy documents, and stakeholder interviews to evaluate the consistency of policy strategies and instruments and the coherence of coordination across policy areas and governance levels in each country.

Key Findings:

Detailed analysis of the three countries’ experiences and stakeholder interviews identified the following insights about the impacts of long-term target setting, the barriers to transport decarbonization, and the enabling conditions needed to decarbonize the transport sector enough to reach NDC targets.

  • Net zero targets provide positive impetus. China, India, and Vietnam have all set economy-wide net zero emissions goals and have referenced them in their NDCs. Evidence suggests that the climate ambition of the three case countries is reflected in their national strategies, but at varying levels of detail.
  • Ambitious government leadership is necessary. Governments at the national and subnational levels all play a pivotal role in setting a long-term development vision, defining mobility transition road maps, establishing standards, and providing guidance and necessary infrastructure.
  • The concept of a just, equitable transition was rarely articulated during the interviews. A few experts interviewed raised equity issues such as providing affordable electric vehicles for lower-income groups, creating new local jobs in the EV supply chain, improving the accessibility and quality of public transport, and considering environmental benefits such as improved air quality.
  • Questions and barriers around new technologies need to be further addressed. Although battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are commercially available, barriers to widespread adoption include the difficulty of electrifying heavy-duty vehicles and the lack of regulatory framework, financing, or technical expertise.
  • Financing is critical. Given the immense price tags to decarbonize transport, public investments are essential but will not be sufficient to meet the targets. Private investment will be necessary as well.
  • Freight transport is receiving growing attention. Freight has been highlighted in the three countries’ NDCs and LTSs and other high-level national policy documents.
  • One barrier to progress is that the energy and transport sectors are continuing to work in silos. Experts from China revealed that collaboration between transport, land-use, and energy industries is difficult because the relevant government agencies and business groups that would need to communicate and work together often represent different interests.

Published under the NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA), this report is a joint effort between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT); the International Transport Forum (ITF); Agora Verkehrswende; the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT); the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21); and World Resources Institute.