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Achieving deep reductions in US transport greenhouse gas emissions: Scenario analysis and policy implications

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  • McCollum, David
  • Yang, Christopher
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the potential for making deep cuts in US transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the long-term (50-80% below 1990 levels by 2050). Scenarios are used to envision how such a significant decarbonization might be achieved through the application of advanced vehicle technologies and fuels, and various options for behavioral change. A Kaya framework that decomposes GHG emissions into the product of four major drivers is used to analyze emissions and mitigation options. In contrast to most previous studies, a relatively simple, easily adaptable modeling methodology is used which can incorporate insights from other modeling studies and organize them in a way that is easy for policymakers to understand. Also, a wider range of transportation subsectors is considered here--light- and heavy-duty vehicles, aviation, rail, marine, agriculture, off-road, and construction. This analysis investigates scenarios with multiple options (increased efficiency, lower-carbon fuels, and travel demand management) across the various subsectors and confirms the notion that there are no "silver bullet" strategies for making deep cuts in transport GHGs. If substantial emission reductions are to be made, considerable action is needed on all fronts, and no subsectors can be ignored. Light-duty vehicles offer the greatest potential for emission reductions; however, while deep reductions in other subsectors are also possible, there are more limitations in the types of fuels and propulsion systems that can be used. In all cases travel demand management strategies are critical; deep emission cuts will not likely be possible without slowing growth in travel demand across all modes. Even though these scenarios represent only a small subset of the potential futures in which deep reductions might be achieved, they provide a sense of the magnitude of changes required in our transportation system and the need for early and aggressive action if long-term targets are to be met.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 5580-5596

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:12:p:5580-5596

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Alternative fuel Efficiency Emissions reduction;

    References

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Sorrell, Steve & Speirs, Jamie & Bentley, Roger & Brandt, Adam & Miller, Richard, 2010. "Global oil depletion: A review of the evidence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5290-5295, September.
    2. Kyle, Page & Kim, Son H., 2011. "Long-term implications of alternative light-duty vehicle technologies for global greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy demands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 3012-3024, May.
    3. Sperling, Daniel & Cannon, James S., 2010. "Climate and Transportation Solutions: Findings from the 2009 Asilomar Conference on Transportation and Energy Policy," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt8wm1z34p, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. Bastani, Parisa & Heywood, John B. & Hope, Chris, 2012. "The effect of uncertainty on US transport-related GHG emissions and fuel consumption out to 2050," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 517-548.
    5. Marletto, Gerardo, 2010. "Structure, agency and change in the car regime: A review of the literature," MPRA Paper 32134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. G. Marletto, 2013. "Car and the city: Socio-technical pathways to 2030," Working Paper CRENoS 201306, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    7. DeCicco, John M., 2013. "Factoring the car-climate challenge: Insights and implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 382-392.
    8. Yang, Christopher & Ogden, Joan M & Hwang, Roland & Sperling, Daniel, 2011. "California’s Energy Future: Transportation Energy Use in California," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt70j8b21c, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    9. Yang, Christopher, 2011. "California’s Energy Future: Transportation Energy Use in California," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt8j69x46d, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    10. Mahlia, T.M.I. & Tohno, S. & Tezuka, T., 2012. "History and current status of the motor vehicle energy labeling and its implementation possibilities in Malaysia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 1828-1844.

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