Energy - Environment

Decarbonizing the Transportation Sector: Policy Options, Synergies and Institutions to Deliver on a 1.5 Degree Stabilization Pathway

The relationship between institutional structures and climate policy performance becomes obvious when assessing the stability (or the lack thereof) of specific policies in different countries. After the 2016 presidential elections, climate change policies in the United States are taking a radical U-turn, which highlights the political volatility that is a key institutional feature of majoritarian democracies that rely almost entirely on the minimal coalition and partisan support, rather than a broad societal consensus on climate policy that features very prominently in the European Union and its member states.

Institutional structures, policy continuity and implementation are vital aspects to deliver of global climate change goals in line with the Paris Agreement. The decarbonization pathways across sectors are clearly outlined in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC and translated to actions in the transport sector, highlighting the fact that global climate change mitigation targets will not be reached without an appropriate contribution by the transport sector. An integrated policy approach that aims to generate synergies (rather than trade-offs) between policy objectives can help to maximize socio-economic benefits and can help to form coalitions that endure and are resilient in the face of political volatility.

An Advanced Review by Oliver Lah, recently published in WIREs Energy and Environment, outlines the key elements of a low-carbon stabilization pathway for land transport, focusing on the potential of key policy measures at the local and national level, opportunities for synergies of sustainable development and climate change objectives and governance and institutional issues affecting the implementation of measures. It provides an integrated view on the decarbonisation of the transport sector based on recent literature and highlights aspects of trends and drivers, policy integration and governance related to a transition towards low-carbon, sustainable transport sector.

Pathways, policy and governance approaches for low-carbon transport

Figure 1. Pathways, policy and governance approaches for low-carbon transport

Kindly contributed by Oliver Lah.

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