Sustainable Automobile Transport
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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.
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Chapter 3: Transport Technology and Fuel Characteristics and Future Prospects

Lisa Ryan and Hal Turton

Extract

3. Transport technology and fuel characteristics and future prospects Future population growth and increasing incomes throughout the world are expected to drive increasing demands for private mobility, particularly automobile transport over the 21st century. Satisfying this emerging demand for global automobile transport is likely to pose many challenges to long-term sustainable development. In particular, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and to manage non-renewable energy resources, are two challenges that appear incompatible with a large expansion in automobile use. However, as briefly discussed in Chapter 1, the application of new technologies has the potential to alleviate some of the impacts. For instance, vehicle technologies able to achieve high fuel efficiencies, or to utilize alternative renewable energy sources, represent promising possibilities for satisfying mobility demands while avoiding some of the negative impacts of transport on sustainability. The potential far-reaching impact of technology is perhaps best appreciated by considering the role of the internal combustion engine (ICE) in the 20th century. The ICE was one of the most important technologies of the century, transforming personal mobility in the developed world and in doing so strongly influencing the development of human settlements, trade, tourism and communication. Moreover, the ICE also transformed global energy production, and has indirectly influenced historical and current global geopolitics. One key question is whether this technology will maintain its position in the 21st century, or be replaced by one of a number of emerging alternatives. With...

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