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On assessing climate effects of electrifying the transport sector


  • Carlén, Björn

    () (VTI)

  • Mandell, Svante

    () (VTI)


Shifting transportation to electrified modes, e.g., rail, is a politically attractive way of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector. There is a vivid debate about the effects such a shift has on GHG emission and how these should be assessed and appraised. We argue that this debate largely originates from differences in how the debaters characterize the situation at hand, in particular how markets are organized and which policy instruments are in place. To shed light on this, we start by identifying the appropriate assessment approach in a hypothetical situation without any climate or energy policies and then gradually add realistic circumstances into the equation. Our main conclusion is that evaluating the climate impacts from a transportation shift is a highly complex task in the initial situation. The closer we move towards a climate-policy architecture of the current EU-type, the simpler the task becomes. Given a comprehensive global climate treaty, there is no need for any special treatment of the GHG effects since all relevant effects then would be internalized in producer and consumer prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlén, Björn & Mandell, Svante, 2012. "On assessing climate effects of electrifying the transport sector," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:11, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ctswps:2012_011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cason, Timothy N. & Plott, Charles R., 1996. "EPA's New Emissions Trading Mechanism: A Laboratory Evaluation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 133-160, March.
    2. Bettle, R. & Pout, C.H. & Hitchin, E.R., 2006. "Interactions between electricity-saving measures and carbon emissions from power generation in England and Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3434-3446, December.
    3. Hawkes, A.D., 2010. "Estimating marginal CO2 emissions rates for national electricity systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5977-5987, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mandell, Svante & Nilsson, Jan-Eric & Vierth, Inge, 2014. "Freight transport, policy instruments and climate," Working Paper Series 14/3, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Centre for Banking and Finance (cefin).
    2. Mandell, Svante & Nilsson , Jan-Eric & Vierth , Inge, 2014. "Freight transport, policy instruments and climate," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:5, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).

    More about this item


    Climate; Transport; Cost-benefit analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning


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