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 12: Implications for Policymaking

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


Over the last 30 years transport, in particular road transport, has been responsible for an increasing share of energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The scenario described in Chapter 6 illustrates how this trend can be expected to continue if no intervention is made to address externalities in market operation, leading to an unsustainable transport system. A sustainable transport system, on the other hand, is more consistent with the scenario presented in Chapter 5, in which greenhouse gas emissions from transport in 2100 are roughly equal to or less than greenhouse gas emissions in 2000. One of the challenges to realizing a sustainable transport system incorporated in the analysis presented earlier in Chapters 5 and 6 is that achieving other goals of sustainable development, such as economic development and more income equality between world regions, is likely to stimulate today’s developing regions to follow a similar path of development to that followed in today’s developed regions, leading to high levels of demand for private mobility. This presents not only challenges, but also opportunities for sustainable development. The previous chapter has summarized a number of well understood, technically viable alternative motor vehicle technologies at or near market standard that have the potential to alleviate some of the environmental impacts concomitant with the increase in road transport envisaged in the scenarios presented in earlier chapters. However, as discussed briefly in Chapter 11, the introduction of technologies and energy carriers that are not compatible with the dominating technological regime can be...

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