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Conviction #1

Conviction #1

Sustainable mobility must combine freedom of movement and environmental responsibility

Mobility is a question of individual freedom: everyone has the right to movement. Whether willingly chosen or endured, it plays a crucial role in accessing work, education, care services, and everyday essentials. Mobility is also a source of social bonding and opens up opportunities for discovering other cultures. It is even a factor for peace. Furthermore, it must be accessible to as many people as possible, under acceptable conditions in terms of services and cost.

Moreover, strong growth in global mobility is anticipated: air traffic is expected to double by 2035(a) and car production to 114 million in 2024 – 20 million more than in 2017(b). According to estimates, 86% of this upsurge will come from emerging countries, mainly China(c).

At the same time, the climate emergency is accelerating: in October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that we only have ten years left to reverse the trend. However, in its current configuration, the mobility of goods and people remains incompatible with global climate, environmental and health crises. Hence the need to change this model fast.

Indeed, transport is responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions: in 2016, it accounted for 23% of global emissions(d). Worse still: the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that these emissions will increase by 120% between 2000 and 2050!

They have extremely important implications for health, too: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016 outdoor air pollution caused the premature deaths of 4.2 million people worldwide. Road accidents are responsible for the deaths of 1.3 million people every year(f).

To strike a balance between these imperatives – the right to mobility and the climate and health emergencies – the general feeling is that mobility stakeholders should work in two focus areas. On the one hand, it is of course a question of proposing mobility solutions that are fully sustainable: vehicles, infrastructure, and systems. On the other, users themselves must be made aware of the consequences of their mobility choices through the provision of indicators on the socio-environmental outcomes – carbon footprint, amount of energy used, repercussions on rare earth metals, social impacts when purchasing goods, etc. – in addition to those already available (travel times, journey rupture points). In short, a framework must be built that allows everyone to exercise their freedom of choice in a responsible manner.



a International Air Transport Association (IATA) / 2011 report

b PwC Autofacts / October 2018

c PwC Autofacts / January 2018


d International Energy Agency (IEA) / June 2017


e World Health Organization (WHO) / June 2017


f  European Commission / 2018



1 billion

= more cars in the world since 2011


= increase in greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2050

4,2 millions

= deaths due to atmospheric pollution in 2016


Jean-Jacques Thomas



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