Sustainable Automobile Transport

Sustainable Automobile Transport

Shaping Climate Change Policy

ESRI Studies Series on the Environment

Lisa Ryan and Hal Turton

Transport, and in particular road transport, represents a significant global threat to long-term sustainable development, and is one of the fastest-growing consumers of final energy and sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In this book, long-term energy–economy–environment scenarios are used to identify the key technological developments required to address the challenges passenger car transport poses to climate change mitigation and energy security. It also considers possible targets for policy support and examines some of the elements that contribute to the significant levels of uncertainty – particularly social and political conditions. The book then builds on this long-term scenario analysis with a broad review of recent empirical examples of relevant policy implementation to identify near-term options for the passenger transportation sector which may promote a shift towards a more sustainable transport system over the longer term.

Chapter 7: Policy Instruments to Reduce GHG from Passenger Road Transport

Lisa Ryan and Hal Turton

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, economics and finance, asian economics, transport, environment, asian environment, climate change, environmental sociology, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Transport contributes greatly to global greenhouse gas emissions and is forecast to remain a significant source of concern in this regard in the future. Some of the possible implications, and ways to address these concerns, were presented in a number of scenarios in Chapters 5 and 6, modelled under various assumptions. For instance, the main scenario shown in Chapter 6 estimates potential energy and transport system development, and greenhouse gas emissions in the future, under the assumption that no policies to address sustainable development are pursued, and market forces alone determine energy and transport system characteristics. Other scenarios, such as that presented in Chapter 5, illustrate the potential impact that a more aggressive policy approach to greenhouse gas abatement and sustainable development can have on technological change, leading to efficiency improvements, adoption of new vehicle technologies and fuel switching. The divergence in future greenhouse gas emissions from transport between these scenarios is significant, and the analysis in the previous chapters tells us what kind of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be anticipated if improvements in technology are achieved. However, the scenarios themselves do not provide specific information on the best way to achieve the technological changes required for longer-term sustainability. The model tells us what kind of technological change is necessary to achieve greenhouse gas emissions mitigation from road transport at least total system cost, but not which policy instruments will achieve this goal most effectively, taking into account transaction costs, political feasibility...

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