Market Structure, Sustainability and Decision Making
NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Thomas Vanoutrive and Ann Verhetsel
Chapter 3: Climate change adaptation and transport: a review
Climate change has become a major theme in transportation research and policy. An important starting point was the publication of the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987) on sustainable development. The studies and policies proposed under the heading ‘sustainable transport’ have been numerous since then. Google gives about 5 million hits for this combination of terms. In the initial phase, the main orientation was on environmental pollution and resource scarcity, in particular the use of fossil fuels. It soon appeared that for some types of pollutants such as NOx it was rather easy to achieve substantial reductions, implying successful cases of decoupling of economic development and pollution. For energy use, the successes were much more modest, the bottom line being that energy use in transport grows more or less at the same rate as transport volumes, whereas inmost other sectors improvements in energy efficiency were much easier to achieve (Rothengatter, 2003; EIS, 2010). This means that transport’s share in aggregate energy use has been increasing gradually up to some 25 percent. During the last decade the themes of global warming and climate change have become more prominent (IPCC, 2007; Stern, 2007). To a considerable extent this theme runs parallel to the fossil energy theme, since fossil resources are the main type of energy input. The difference is of course that in the energy theme external effects are less prominent than in the climate change theme.
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