Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

COP21 should focus more on urban transport and electric cars

20.11.2015

The transport sector has the capacity to nearly halve its CO2 emissions by 2050, and may therefore be easier to decarbonize than previously thought. Realizing such a major emissions cut would require further efficiency improvements in fuel consumption and, especially, the promotion of public transport in cities, alongside a large-scale shift to electric cars. These are key findings of the new study “Transport: A roadblock to climate change mitigation?” written by Felix Creutzig from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), together with other researchers from the MCC and scientists from other institutions, published in the journal Science.

Prior to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris the researchers point to a promising avenue for the transport sector to mitigate climate change. At present, the emissions of this sector account for 23 percent of global CO2 emissions.


Transport emissions are expected to double by 2050, according to IPCC scenarios, mainly because of rapid motorization in China, India, and Southeast Asia. But to achieve the 2° C target, the transport sector would need to stabilize if not halve its emissions by 2050.

“Large-scale electric mobility could be crucial in reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector by one half by 2050,” lead author Felix Creutzig says, who also contributed to the chapter on transport in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Electric mobility at that scale includes car-sharing concepts, electric bicycles and rail transport.

“Efficiency gains will be very difficult to achieve with the conventional automobile fleet from 2025 on. In that context, a fuel shift will be the only remaining option to advance decarbonization.”

Given the continuing drop in battery prices, electric drives have a better starting position than engines running on biofuels or hydrogen, according to the authors. In fact, recent literature has shown that the price per kilowatt-hour has dropped from about $1,000 US dollars in 2007 to about $410 US dollars in 2014. Because of this development, prices for the year 2030 are projected to drop to $200 US dollars.

The Science paper bases its insights on IPCC AR5 transformation pathways and on the Integrated Model to Assess the Greenhouse Effect (IMAGE). Models that offer a systems view focus on what different energy sectors, like the transport sector, could contribute to climate protection.

The Science paper, however, examines transport-related issues within the sector by using more recent and, in some cases more specific, data on how people commute and travel. The results show that there are grounds for cautious optimism – provided policy will follow suit.

Climate protection solutions in the transport sector rely significantly on urban infrastructure policies. “The most effective form of climate mitigation is every single kilometer not driven. This is what also generates the most health benefits, for example by cleaner air,” Creutzig says. “Infrastructure investments in new train tracks or fast-lane bike paths, for example, are negligible when considering that they reduce the need to build more roads and parking lots.”

Such investments also result in positive path dependencies. For example, when parking is made more expensive in downtown areas, accompanied by an improvement of public transport, people tend to give up driving and use other forms of transportation in the city centers. Such shifts can then develop into more permanent habits.

At international climate summits, such as the upcoming Paris conference, urban transport and electric cars do not typically feature in the discussions. “When it comes to really transforming the transport sector on a path towards climate protection, global policy makers have perhaps been a bit timid,” co-author David McCollum from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) says. “If we were to replicate best-practice examples that we see throughout the world today, then we could start to harness the potential that’s out there.”

Reference of the cited article:
Creutzig, F.; Jochem, P.; Edelenbosch, O.Y.; Mattauch, L.; van Vuuren, D.P.; McCollum, D.; Minx, J. (2015): Transport: A roadblock to climate change mitigation?, Science, Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 911 – 912

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mcc-berlin.net

Fabian Löhe | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>