Routes to 2050 ?

This project was undertaken for the European Commission and aimed to, among other things, stimulate a debate about the actions that need to be taken in the medium- to long-term (particularly between 2020 and 2050) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in the EU. See About the Project for more details of the project’s context and objectives.

The European Union has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) and has made an offer to reduce GHG emissions by 30% if there is a satisfactory global agreement to combat climate change after 2012 (i.e. after the Kyoto Protocol). In January 2009, the European Parliament called on the EU and other industrialised countries to reduce GHG emissions by between 25% and 40% by 2020 with a reduction of at least 80% to be achieved by 2050 (all compared to 1990 levels) (CEC, 2008). According to EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas these objectives are fully in line with the Commission's thinking and with the conclusions of the October 2008 Environment Council (CEC, 2009).

However, the EU-27's GHG emissions from transport have been steadily increasing and are projected to continue to do so. The rate of growth of these emissions has the potential to undermine the EU's efforts to meet the potential, long-term GHG emission reduction targets if no action is taken to reduce them as illustrated in the graph below (Graph supplied by Peder Jensen, EEA).

The project is funded by the European Commission's DG Environment and is organised around the following themes:

1) Transport trends and drivers: How is transport demand influenced by the wider economy and wider trends?

2) What level of GHG emissions from the transport sector would be likely to be compatible with the EU's long term GHG reduction goals? What is the optimal timing for actions to achieve these?

3) How much GHG emission reduction is technology likely to be able to deliver and what other actions will be needed? What will the overall costs to society be for these actions?

4) How can likely changes in transport type and structure affect the sector's GHG emissions?

5) What policy framework is needed over the short, medium and longer term to ensure the compatibility of EU transport sector emissions with long term climate goals?

EU overall emissions trajectories compared with extrapolated transport emissions (indexed)

EU overall emissions trajectories compared with extrapolated transport emissions

In the transport sector, the EU has recently put in place measures to include aviation in the EU ETS, to reduce new car CO2 emissions per km and to lower the GHG intensity of road fuel. However, it has not yet put in place a strategy for addressing transport GHG emissions overall or a vision of the approach required to ensure compatibility of these with its overall climate goals. The aim of this project is to take a first step in developing such a long-term strategic approach to ensuring the compatibility of transport's GHG emissions with the EU's long-term climate goals.


Final reports producted under the project are available for download below:

Final Report: Towards the decarbonisation of the EU's transport sector by 2050; Skinner, I., Van Essen, H., Smokers, R. & Hill, N. (2010) – updated 22.06.10

Task 2 Paper: Identifying transport's contribution to 2050 GHG reductions; TNO (2009) – updated 07.09.09 [Annex 2 of Final Report]

Task 3 Paper: EU Transport Trends and Drivers; ISIS (2009) – updated 22.12.09 [Annex 3 of Final Report]

Paper 1: Technical options for fossil fuel based road transport; Sharpe, R. (2010) – updated 11.02.10 [Annex 4 of Final Report]

Paper 2: Alternative Energy Carriers and Powertrains to Reduce GHG from Transport; Hill, N. et al (2009) – updated 21.12.09 [Annex 5 of Final Report]

Paper 3: Technical Options to reduce GHG for non-Road Transport Modes; Hazeldine, T. et al (2009) – updated 30.12.09 [Annex 6 of Final Report] 

Paper 4: GHG emissions in transport in 2050; Operational options for all modes; Kampman, B. et al (2009) – updated 18.12.09 [Annex 7 of Final Report]

Paper 5: Modal split and decoupling options; Essen, H. et al (2009) – updated 22.12.09 [Annex 8 of Final Report]

Paper 6: Regulation for vehicles and energy carriers; TNO & CE Delft (2010) – updated 12.02.10 [Annex 9 of Final Report]

Paper 7: Economic Instruments; CE Delft (2009) – updated 09.01.10 [Annex 10 of Final Report]

Paper 8: Infrastructure and spatial policy, speed and traffic management; CE Delft & TNO (2010) – updated 08.03.10 [Annex 11 of Final Report]

Paper 9: Information, encouraging fuel efficient operation, procurement, R&D and Pilots; AEA (2009) – updated 19.11.09 [Annex 12 of Final Report]

Report I: Energy security and the transport sector; Haydock, H. Kollamthodi, K. & Falconer, A. (AEA) (2009) – updated 04.06.10 [Annex 13 of Final Report]

Report II: Methodological issues relating to cost-effectiveness assessment; Davidson, M. et al (2010) - updated 10.03.10 [Annex 14 of Final Report]

Report III: Impacts of other sectors on transport; Enei, R. (2010) – updated 08.02.10 [Annex 15 of Final Report]

Report IV: An overview of the factors that limit new technology and concepts in the tranport sector; Pridmore et al (2009) – updated 04.01.10 [Annex 16 of Final Report]

Report V: Review of projections and scenarios for transport in 2050; Rikjee & Van Essen (2010) – updated 10.03.10 [Annex 17 of Final Report]

Report VI: Review of potential radical future transport technologies and concepts; Wynn, D. & Hill, N. (2010) – updated 04.06.10 [Annex 18 of Final Report]

Report VII: SULTAN: Development of an Illustrative Scenarios Tool for Assessing Potential Impacts of Measures on EU Transport GHG; Hill, N., Morris, M. & Skinner, I. (2010) – updated 04.06.10 [Annex 19 of Final Report]

Method Report: Product Methodology; Skinner, I. & Hill, N. (2010) – updated 04.06.10 [Annex 20 of Final Report]

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