International Transport Forum Discussion Papers

ITF Discussion Papers make economic research, commissioned or carried out in-house at the International Transport Forum, available to researchers and practitioners. They describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on a broad range of issues on which the ITF works.

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Target: Low-carbon Goods Transportation

A Growth-dynamics Perspective on Logistics and Goods Transportation until 2050

The transportation sector is responsible for about 23% of all CO2 emissions globally and 30% in OECD countries with road being the dominating sector for transport emissions (ITF, 2010). National emissions data are rarely disaggregated by freight vs. passenger transport, but an estimate is that goods transportation accounts for 30-40% of the total road sector emissions in most countries (ITF, 2010). In addition, the trend for CO2 emissions from the transportation of goods is on the rise, while the increase in emissions from passenger transport has levelled off and emissions from other sectors have decreased. Internationally, based on traditional projections, transportation of goods is expected to continue increasing in step with the GDP, thus doubling by 2050. This trend contrasts sharply with the climate targets set by the EU, which require dramatic reductions in emissions; by 2050, the EU should cut its emissions to 80% below 1990 levels through domestic reductions alone (EU, 2011). The expected effects of on-going or planned measures will not be sufficient to achieve the EU target. On the contrary, CO2 levels are expected to increase. This is the problem that is the focus of the analysis and discussion in this paper.


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