Decoupling the Environmental Impacts of Transport from Economic Growth

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Transport activity continues to cause large adverse impacts on the environment, human health and the economy. But is a negative impact of transport on the environment a necessary consequence of economic growth? This book illustrates that decoupling the environmental impacts of transport from economic growth is achievable, through the efficient use of charges, fees, taxes and other economic instruments. These economic approaches can complement regulatory measures to encourage a shift towards more environmentally-friendly modes of transport, such as from road to certain forms of rail transport. Other factors which could help to decouple transport impacts from economic growth are improvements in freight transport logistics, and dematerialisation.

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Policy Instruments for Decoupling

This chapter begins with a general discussion of some of the generic approaches that are often advocated for promoting decoupling. The second section then focuses on the various policy instruments that are available to promote decoupling (economic instruments, regulatory instruments, investment instruments, institutional arrangements, educational instruments and “soft” measures), focussing on what each of these approaches might bring to the policy “table”.

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