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GHG reduction in transport: an expensive option?

Marginal abatement costs for greenhouse gas emission reduction in transport compared with other sectors

On behalf of the Joint Transport Research Centre Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies for the Transport Sector (which is part of OECD’s International Transport Forum), CE Delft has examined abatement costs for measures in the transport sector compared to costs in other sectors. A series of large studies on GHG abatement costs has been investigated, especially in the EU, the USA and on a global level. These show that, compared to other sectors, the transport sector has a significant reduction potential available at negative abatement costs. Especially for the longer term (2030) the total reduction potential with GHG abatement costs below e.g. 20 or 40 €/ton CO2 eq. is not only a significant share of the total emissions of the transport sector, but also substantial in absolute terms compared to reduction potentials available in the same cost range in other sectors. Compared to other sectors technical measures in the transport sector do tend to require relatively large up-front capital investments per tonne of GHG reduction.
The review presented in this report has also provided a range of insights regarding methodological and other aspects that influence the outcome and comparability of GHG abatement cost estimates. Given the inherent uncertainties in (ex ante) technology cost estimates and the impact of parameter variations, abatement cost figures should not be expected to have much more than a single digit accuracy. This means that only the order of magnitude (is it -10, 0, 10, 25 or 100 €/tonne) can be considered significant or meaningful.

Delft, May 2009

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