GHG mitigation in the transport sector

TitleGHG mitigation in the transport sector
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsMichaelis, L, Davidson O
JournalEnergy Policy
Date Published1996/11//
ISBN Number0301-4215

This paper explores the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation in the transport sector to contribute to meeting the objective of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). The technical potential for vehicle energy intensity reductions is found to be about 25-50%, but the economic ([`]no regrets') potential is much smaller. Renewable derived alternative fuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy used by as much as 80%, but supplies are insufficient to meet current demand except at very high prices. Thus, energy intensity reductions should be the first priority. However, current trends suggest that energy intensity may not fall at all in the coming 30 years. Government policies, including feebates (a system of fuel economy related vehicle taxes and subsidies) and fuel taxes, could help to reduce transport energy intensity and traffic levels but, given available technology, current consumer preferences and lifestyles, policies that would reduce transport GHG emissions below 1990 levels would probably entail net economic costs. Governments pay much attention to developing new technology and this may be sufficient to bring about GHG emission reductions. However, technology might not provide the whole answer, and more research is needed into the possible role of developments in preference and lifestyle.