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Appendix A: White Paper - Decarbonizing transport for a sustainable future: Mitigating impacts of the changing climate

Greene, David L.; Parkhurst, Graham

Authors

David L. Greene



Abstract

Mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is essential to preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The recent Paris Agreement reaffirmed the long-standing view of scientists that it is critical to keep the increase below 2°C to preserve the socioeconomic conditions of current civilization. The current trajectory of global emissions will increase the average global temperature beyond the 2°C goal (IPCC 2014a, p. 113). Reductions in GHG of 80% to 90% by the United States and the European Union by 2050 are necessary to constrain the increase in global average temperature to less than 2°C. Therefore, additional mitigation actions, defined as “human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases” (IPCC 2014a, p. 142), will be necessary.

Within this cross-sectoral objective, this paper clarifies the importance of mitigating transportation’s large and growing share of anthropogenic GHG emissions as a critical contribution to moderating the dangerous impacts of climate change. There are four fundamental ways to reduce transport’s direct GHG emissions across the range of fossil fuel–dependent passenger and freight transport modes:
1. Improve vehicle energy efficiency,
2. Reduce the carbon intensity of energy sources,
3. Reduce the level of motorized transport activity, and
4. Improve the efficiency of the transport system.

In addition, this paper discusses indirect means of reducing emissions, such as through changes to spatial form and land use. However, none of these measures alone is sufficient. A comprehensive mitigation strategy for transport is required to achieve GHG reductions of 80% to 90% by 2050.

The purpose of this paper was to provide context for the deliberations of the Fifth EU-U.S. Transportation Research Symposium, the topic of which was mitigating the impacts of the changing climate.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Pages 30-60
Series Title Transportation Research Board Conference Proceedings
Book Title Conference Proceedings 54: Decarbonizing Transport for a Sustainable Future: Mitigating Impacts of the Changing Climate
ISBN 9780309460453
APA6 Citation Greene, D. L., & Parkhurst, G. (2017). Appendix A: White Paper - Decarbonizing transport for a sustainable future: Mitigating impacts of the changing climate. In Conference Proceedings 54: Decarbonizing Transport for a Sustainable Future: Mitigating Impacts of the Changing Climate, 30-60. Transportation Research Board
Keywords decarbonization, transport, sustainability, climate change, mitigation
Publisher URL http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/177088.aspx