Sustainable Automobile Transport
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Sustainable Automobile Transport

Shaping Climate Change Policy

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 9: Voluntary or Negotiated Agreements

Lisa Ryan and Hal Turton


In recent years there has been a trend towards voluntary approaches (VAs) in environmental policymaking in the EU and other OECD countries, particularly Japan, instead of the previously favoured command and control regulations. Voluntary approaches are defined as ‘commitments from polluting firms or sectors to improve their environmental performance’ (Higley et al., 2001) beyond regulatory requirements. They have become important in most regions as an alternative instrument in environmental policy and have been used to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in many sectors. This chapter will begin generally, describing the types of agreements and the theory of their design. Box 9.1 describes the theoretical context of voluntary agreements in environmental policy. The chapter proceeds with specific examples of this instrument applied to greenhouse gas reduction in transport, where possible, and also to other environmental questions. The policy and economic literature divides VAs into three categories: unilateral commitments made by polluting firms, public voluntary schemes and negotiated environmental agreements between a sector and public authorities (Higley et al., 2001). Unilateral commitments consist of environmental actions undertaken by firms and communicated to their stakeholders (employees, shareholders, clients and so on). There is no government intervention; the firms themselves determine the definition of environmental targets and the conditions of compliance (OECD, 2003). Firms can involve a third party (such as the International Standards Organisation, ISO) to certify the environmental effects of the commitment. Public voluntary schemes invite firms to meet specified standards established by public authorities such as environmental...

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