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 13: Sustainable Automobile Transportation: Synthesis of Key Conclusions

Lisa Ryan and Hal Turton

Extract

13. Sustainable automobile transportation: synthesis of key conclusions We own and drive cars for many reasons. Our car is a form of attire; it makes a statement about who we are and how much money we have. It expresses our self-image, or how we want to be viewed by the world. It also can be a symbol of freedom – a way of escaping from place and people, and a means out of constraint and into opportunity. It is also a means of transport, of getting from home to work, and from work to social interaction, with the time of departure decided by us. Some resist all these blandishments and never own or drive a car, and this itself makes a statement about us to the world. But for most, car ownership or access to the use of a car is a high priority, to be indulged as soon as circumstance and funds allow. As economies grow and associated per capita income rises, numbers of cars purchased and driven rise also. And so ‘freedom of the road’ is embraced by most as a ‘good thing’, yielding many benefits individually and collectively. But there are costs, and the cost litany seems to grow over time. These include death and maiming as a result of car-related accidents; emission of air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, particulates and volatile organic compounds, which under certain conditions can make existence very unpleasant and in extreme circumstances threaten life itself; congestion, as too many cars compete for...

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