Transport climate policy explored

At the Paris summit government leaders pledged to keep global warming well below 2°C and if possible below 1.5°C. In this study, for the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth-Netherlands, we explore how these challenging targets translate to the climate efforts required of the Dutch transport sector. To this end the remaining CO2 budget for the sector was calculated.

To limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees means there is only a certain amount of CO2 that can still be emitted: the ‘CO2 budget’. We use this method because the climate impact depends not so much on the emission reduction achieved by 2050, but above all on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the intervening period. With a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C the CO2 budget still available to the transport sector is less than half that for the 2 degree target. If no additional policies are implemented, the CO2 budget will have been depleted by around 2036 for the 2°target and by 2024 for the 1.5°target.

In this study a series of policy scenarios was run to assess the effectiveness of measures to secure the climate targets, looking at sustainable fuels, more efficient vehicles, fewer kilometres driven and a shift to more efficient transport modes. For these calculations the CO2 emissions of aviation and maritime shipping were also included. These are not usually allocated to the Netherlands and thus also not to the transport sector. Also included in the calculations are the CO2 emissions associated with biofuel production. Again, this is not usually the case. Finally, in this study we consider only climate policies on which a firm political decision has already been made.