Policy pathways towards achieving a zero carbon transport sector in the UK in 2050

The effective decarbonisation of the transport sector will play a large role in achieving the UK government target of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases, from the 1990 baseline, by 2050. This paper presents a vision of a ‘zero carbon’ future for the UK transport sector.

Vallack, H. W., Haq, G., Whitelegg, J. and H. Cambridge (2014). Policy pathways towards achieving a zero carbon transport sector in the UK in 2050. World Transport Policy and Practice. Volume 20.4. Published by Ecologica.

It quantifies and assesses the contributions that a range of behavioural, fiscal, spatial planning and technological carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction measures can make in assisting the UK to move towards a ‘zero carbon’ transport sector by 2050. Two scenarios for 2050 are compared: a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario (with continuation of present trends and policies) and a maximum impact (MI) scenario in which all feasible interventions for achieving a ‘zero carbon’ UK transport sector are applied. Although road and rail transport could both achieve the zero CO2 emission target by 2050, emissions from aviation and shipping are more problematic.

It quantifies and assesses the contributions that a range of behavioural, fiscal, spatial planning and technological carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction measures can make in assisting the UK to move towards a ‘zero carbon’ transport sector by 2050. Two scenarios for 2050 are compared: a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario (with continuation of present trends and policies) and a maximum impact (MI) scenario in which all feasible interventions for achieving a ‘zero carbon’ UK transport sector are applied. Although road and rail transport could both achieve the zero CO2 emission target by 2050, emissions from aviation and shipping are more problematic.

For the 2050 MI Scenario, the net result from the entire UK transport sector (including international aviation/shipping) is 76 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the 2050 BAU scenario. This falls short of a zero carbon target for UK transport and is due to the remaining CO2 emissions from aviation (56 per cent reduction) and shipping (49 per cent reduction). To improve the overall CO2 emissions reduction for transport would require more radical interventions or technological innovations for these two sectors than envisaged here.

This visioning and backcasting analysis shows that the potential to reduce UK’s transport CO2 emissions is much larger than has hitherto been recognised.

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World Streets on climate change and managing the transition to sustainable mobility, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.

Work in progress at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/climateemergency/https://www.facebook.com/ericbritton2020 and https://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityAgenda/

Project leader:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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