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Is sustainable transport policy sustainable?


  • Eliasson, Jonas

    () (KTH)

  • Proost, Stef

    () (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)


The paper challenges the existing sustainable transport literature. Most sustainable transport plans focus on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in either one region or country and this neglects two handicaps of strong unilateral action. The first is that climate is a global commons problem so a strong binding international climate agreement is unlikely. The second is that a unilateral reduction of oil consumption by a limited number of countries will be partially, or even completely, offset by market responses – in some circumstances, cumulative emissions may even come earlier (the “green paradox”). When a coalition of the willing reduces oil use in the transport sector, this will delay rather than reduce total emissions. This requires rethinking climate policies for the transport sector: what policies remain cost effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Suggested Citation

  • Eliasson, Jonas & Proost, Stef, 2014. "Is sustainable transport policy sustainable?," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:2, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI), revised 29 Sep 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ctswps:2014_002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:71-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jichao Geng & Ruyin Long & Hong Chen & Ting Yue & Wenbo Li & Qianwen Li, 2017. "Exploring Multiple Motivations on Urban Residents’ Travel Mode Choices: An Empirical Study from Jiangsu Province in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, January.
    3. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:64-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chaloupka, Christine & Kölbl, Robert & Loibl, Wolfgang & Molitor, Romain & Nentwich, Michael & Peer, Stefanie & Risser, Ralf & Sammer, Gerd & Schützhofer, Bettina & Seibt, Claus, 2015. "Nachhaltige Mobilität aus sozioökonomischer Perspektive – Diskussionspapier der Arbeitsgruppe "Sozioökonomische Aspekte" der ÖAW-Kommission "Nachhaltige Mobilität" (ITA-manu," ITA manu:scripts 15_02, Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA).
    5. Proost, Stef & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2015. "Skilled Cities, Regional Disparities, and Efficient Transport: The state of the art and a research agenda," CEPR Discussion Papers 10790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:eee:trapol:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:60-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:809-:d:98531 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Climate change; Sustainable transport; Oil consumption; International negotiation;

    JEL classification:

    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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