Scientists demand strict and combined measures to reduce CO2 in road traffic

August 26, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Scientists demand strict and combined measures to reduce CO2 in road traffic
Despite new technologies and national and international targets, global CO2 emissions from road freight transport are increasing; the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a study from Germany and Canada. The experts call for significantly stricter and integrated measures to reduce emissions. For the automotive industry, this translates into the urgent need for new drive concepts.

According to the study, transport is responsible for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, 72% of which are caused by road traffic alone. At the same time, the transport sector is the only area in which emissions are still rising - despite the fact that policy measures have been taken and announced to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement: Compared to 2019, emissions must be reduced by 30 to 40 percent by 2030, by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 - and after that they should be close to zero, according to the analysis of scientists Dr. Patrick Plötz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe (Germany) and his Canadian colleagues Dr. Jonn Axsen (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby) and Michael Wolinetz (Navius Research, Vancouver). The study, first published in the journal Nature Science, lists which national and regional policy measures can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road freight transport in the long term.

The main conclusion of the study is that a single policy instrument is not sufficient; instead, an integrated mix of stringent measures is needed. Key measures include CO2 fleet limits, minimum quotas for zero-emission vehicles and quotas for low-CO2 fuels. These measures can be accompanied by appropriate prices and incentives.

As examples that have already been successfully implemented in the U.S., Canada and China, the scientists cite strict requirements on how much the emission values of all vehicles sold must be reduced overall by a specified date, and binding market shares for zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars. The latter are currently lacking in Europe. The authors recommend introducing the measures of these three countries in other countries as well. However, they emphasize that adjustments to national and regional conditions are always necessary and interactions must be taken into account. Possible negative interactions include, for example, the double imputability of electric vehicles in fleet limits and in quotas for zero-emission vehicles.


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