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The Transport Sector and Climate Change Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:04 PM


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The transport sector is responsible for a significant and growing share of CO2 emissions. Most indications are that transport activity and emissions will double or more in the next 30 years.

Transport  Ministers from upwards of 50 countries around the world will gather with industry leaders and top researchers on 28-30 May in Leipzig at the International Transport Forum on “Transport and Energy: the Challenge of Climate Change”.  Over 2.5 days, Forum participants will discuss the technological and policy mechanisms  for bringing about an energy-efficient, low-carbon future for transport.

In advance of our Forum, we would like to hear from you.

Attached here I have prepared a few thoughts to stimulate some debate. (The Transport Sector and Climate Change) Please read, and then let me know:

In your opinion,

  • What aims and objectives should Ministers have for the transport sector?
  • What is the role of technology in reducing transport CO2 emissions?  How can best technology be introduced?
  • What transport policy measures should Ministers support so as to make a real difference?

The best suggestions and comments will be brought  to the attention of delegates and Ministers at  the International Transport Forum in Leipzig 28-30 May.

Thanks very much in advance for your participation. I look forward to receiving your input.

With best regards,
Jack Short
Secretary General

Post #58
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:37 PM
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Dear MR Short, As you may know there is now equipment on the market that people can buy, that enables them to run there vehicles on an type of water

http://www.runyourcarwithwater.com/?hop=nuch11

this is one of many sites some have videos of how to convert

Why is this not being researched as a viable alternative, as all the tests have proved positive, and have worked without any problems, could it be that governments would loose billions in tax revenues.

As you know our government in the Uk is keen to promote co2 reductions, there is one form of transport that would change almost immediately and that is the taxi market in London.
There is only one thing holding back development and that is the insistence by the PCO that all taxis must have a turning circle, if this was removed taxi owners in London would change there cabs for the more environmentally friendly E7.that is already meeting euro 5 emissions 3 above the LTI present best
London is the only place in the UK where the turning circle is a requirement as its been abolished everywhere else.

The incentive to convert vehicles to run on LPG needs to be reinstated by way of 80% grant and there must be a supply on every forecourt, at the moment there are many being put off due to the cost of converting and the availability of LPG

The use of bio fuels only leads to poor countries starving as they are starting to do now.
The best thing would be to stop petrol production altogether and only use diesel for all vehicles, as diesel cost 50% less to refine and you get more MPG from every gallon so the dependency on oil would drop by over a 3rd.
Diesel engines are also more efficient and at the rate of design are becoming cleaner than any petrol ones
Post #59
Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2008 7:02 PM
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Three questions are posed: 1) What should be the aims and objectives for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction for the transport sector; 2) What is the role of technology in reducing CO2 and how should it be introduced; and, 3) What transport measures can make a real difference.

Transport is a derived demand, and objectives for GHG reduction for the transport sector cannot be developed in isolation. Rather, transport should be encouraged and assisted to function efficiently and responsively to market demand, with shippers and passengers left to deal with the underlying aims and objectives. The best way to do this is simply to let fuel prices reflect costs, including the cost of GHG emissions, and let passengers or shippers decide how much, and what quality, transport to use. Put another way, any solution other than effective pricing will not yield an efficient and sustainable result.

GHG emissions are almost wholly a function of energy consumption, so the basic lever for reducing GHG emissions is improved fuel efficiency. To some extent, fuel composition (more hydrogen, less carbon) is also significant, so some fuel substitution can be helpful. Battery power, or overhead electric traction, can also be helpful, but only to the extent that the electric power is either generated efficiently from fossil fuels (usually the case) or is generated from non-fossil fuels such as hydro or nuclear. In this regard, it is worthwhile emphasizing that most existing bio fuels have essentially zero (at best marginal, but possibly even negative) value in reducing GHG emissions, though they might arguably have some value for other objectives such as reduced dependency on imports.

Policies to introduce technology should include focused and clearly justified support for R&D (such as battery technology) that can fundamentally reduce the cost or increase the availability of alternatives and, in some cases, regulation to encourage, or direct funding to support, developing economies of scale for a technology that will be self supporting afterwards (photovoltaics might be an example). Actual production subsidies, or tax rebates for production, or import protections, all of which are true of ethanol and some other bio fuels (especially in the U.S.), are almost always a bad idea because they distort markets and create interest groups that tend to become self-perpetuating well after the initial good intentions have been achieved (if they ever are).

The key transport policy initiatives that would make a real difference are two-fold. First, energy consumption by transport modes should never be subsidized and should, instead, reflect the full cost of GHG emissions. A good and direct way to do this is to tax all fuel use based on GHG impact (though, of course, other taxes on fuel can be added to achieve additional objectives). Arguably the E.U. is already doing this though the U.S. clearly is not. Command and control measures, such as automotive or truck fuel economy standards, are generally not successful because they do not provide incentives and flexibility to reach the most efficient technical solutions, and automobile manufacturers have always been successful in subverting them (U.S. and German experience being good examples).

Second, and more important, Ministers should ensure that transport providers are allowed, and encouraged, to offer competitive services at competitive prices so that the users of transport will be able to make effective choices. As a pointed example in the E.U., goals to shift freight traffic from highway to rail, which could have positive externalities of many kinds including GHG reduction, will never be achievable if the rail freight operators are not market-driven, if they face unnecessarily high infrastructure access charges or discrimination from national operators, or if infrastructure capacity is reserved for uneconomic (and sometimes energy wasting) passenger services. Commission policies are in place that would, if effectively implemented (a significant "if"), ameliorate some of the infrastructure access issues but there is, as yet, no clearly articulated approach to ensuring adequate competition in the rail freight market.
Post #60
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008 5:06 AM
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I have to agree with my one-time mentor Lou Thompson about his framing of the problem. But increasingly there are two elements of behavior -- one individual and one collective -- that have a big sway here.

The individual element is that of choice. There is no law of nature that says Americans need 2.5 tonne personal vehicles, nor that we can only drive here and there. Since 1981 the fuel needed to move one tonne of a new car a km has fallen by nearly 50%, but the tonnes of car (and the power) have increased so much that the energy to move a a new car has been almost constant. And choices on how to move "progressed" towards cars until the present fuel price escalation in 2002. How -- and how much -- we move is very important to how much GHG we emit. Cheap fuel and mobility, particularly if it is artificially cheap is in the US means we move far more than we need to.

The collective element is that of management. As my experience with EMBARQ in Mexico City has shown, creating a fuel saving, emissions saving, and time savings BRT corridor on Insurgentes was mostly an act of management, of changing how both private and public actors managed the Mexico City transport system. That almost 10% of Metrobus nearly 300 000 daily riders used to make the same trip in cars attests to what a change can be wrought when a system is managed differently. Bogota and other cities with strong BRT systems have the same experience.

So while technology is important, technology did NOT lead to savings in US GHG emissions -- it let us have our cake and eat it, or rather, vent it, too. And technology was not the key figure in Metrobus, in fact the original 80 buses were standard articulated buses. It was the will to run the system differently

Lee Schipper

Lee Schipper
Visiting Scholar
UC Berkeley
Post #61
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008 10:46 AM
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Dear Sirs,

from my perspective there are many non technical problems.
- Politicians have to react to raising fuel (and also food) costs
- Politicians have to protect their own industry producing gas guzzlers

Taking that into consideration we need an integrated policy
- reducing the fuel demand with incentives for regenerating braking energy and procuring smaller vehicles
- supporting research for more efficient bio fuel production (bio gas from waste, bio ethanol from hemi zellulosis etc.) and usage (more efficient biofuel engines)
- support for the build up of alternative vehicle industry comprising eco-modding (fuel saving aftermarket equipment) , velocabs (ultra light pedal electric vehicles), microcars (from narrow tilting two seaters to four seaters) etc. giving support for homologenisation and market introduction

best regards

http://www.greenfleet.info
http://www.recodrive.eu
Post #62
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:23 AM
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The link between GHG emissions and fuel use efficiency is obvious, but the link between improving fuel use efficiency and reducing these emissions is not.

Until now, improvements in fuel use efficiency have been swallowed by increased transport mileage or, as Lee Schipper notes, by increased vehicle size. It is difficult to see any substantial change in this trend. That leaves two other possibilities: either we develop a true 0 GHG emission fuel into actual global use, or we succeed in reducing mileage where it is already high and checking the increase where it is as yet low.

At the recent TRA Conference, a car manufacturer expressed his opinion that the only answer is hydrogen, but he may have had some interests of his own behind that answer. A similar response has been heard from Iceland.

As yet, fuel price and the taxes and market movements in the price have been the only strong influence on mileage development and even that has been mainly a matter of a few years' dip in the curve. Tolls and vignettes to some extent redirect and locally reduce traffic, but their overall impacts on fuel use are also minor. Good public transport service levels can help staunch a developing demand for private cars, but if the car already has the upper hand, mileage reductions are not very big even if service levels are really good.

One can expect that at some stage no sector of the economy will or can be allowed to increase its GHG emissions, regardless of whether it explains such an increase with growing demand or ensuring prosperity or whatever. It is then up to the sector to find out how it can cope with such a limit.

Transport is a service that depends for demand on what happens in other sectors, in land use, in population development &c, but there are examples of service sectors where the sector itself is made responsible for if it allows the demand to be expressed or not - typically Scandinavian alcohol sales. Perhaps we need to set transport's future in such a framework?

Anders HH Jansson
Finnra
Post #63
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2008 7:43 PM
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The individual element is that of choice. There is no law of nature that says Americans need 2.5 tonne personal vehicles, nor that we can only drive here and there. Since 1981 the fuel needed to move one tonne of a new car a km has fallen by nearly 50%, but the tonnes of car (and the power) have increased so much that the energy to move a a new car has been almost constant. And choices on how to move "progressed" towards cars until the present fuel price escalation in 2002. How -- and how much -- we move is very important to how much GHG we emit. Cheap fuel and mobility, particularly if it is artificially cheap is in the US means we move far more than we need to.Quote

If all Americans changed to diesel power they could reduce there dependency on oil by as much as 40%, and increase the mileage per gallon by 60%
Take a typical New York taxi for example, they do around 14 miles per gallon on petrol sorry gas.
If they changed to diesel they would get around 45 to 50 miles per gallon.
I have a Skoda Superb 1.9 turbo diesel and 130 BHP as a taxi and get over 50 miles
per gallon and best of all 650 to 850 miles per tank from 13.5 gallons, its the same shape and size as the Audi A6 or the VW passat
So even though its a large vehicle you do not need a tanker to follow you around
Post #64
Posted Friday, May 09, 2008 2:38 PM
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The economic mantra is “getting the prices right” – and of course I agree; but only to a certain extent.

Firstly, a textbook insight: the “simple” GHG based gasoline tax (Lou Thompson above) only has no distortionary effects if it is matched by a GHG tax for all other GHG producing activities. Otherwise the distortions created may outweigh the gains. As an example, let me name a typical short run – long run incentive problem: reacting on the fuel tax by buying a new car that emits less might be much worse for the climate than “using up” the old one first – since it produces massive GHG during production (life cycle perspective). So only if car production is also “taxed adequately”, the incentive scheme works.

Secondly, since the entire sensible main stream economic arguments I could come up with are posted, let me roll out a little unorthodox critique:

“Getting the prices right” suffices only if we suppose the ever-present rational individual maximising utility over consumption goods – good old homo oeconomicus. But let’s be honest – you wouldn’t tell a psychologist about that friend of yours. Utility maximisation is a thin construct – what’s utility? We can put into it what we want – so why not something psychologists would support?
People are context-dependent. Two arguments:

One, the social context: The “utility” from a 2.5 tonne SUV is certainly not derived in isolation from a society with billions of dollars spent advertisement for such SUVs and (hence?) a social status is derived from such gigantic steel constructions. People’s preferences are formed by different actors of society and social norms exist which people adhere to (if you want, to “maximise utility from social approval”). One norm might be “driving a 2.5 tonne SUV is great” (and it might be someone has worked on establishing it...) So the idea is that one can change preferences/attitudes and create new social norms (if one ethically speaking may change them is another question. But remember, Daimler and BMW do it all the time…).

How? I wouldn’t know how to use the price mechanism here… Information may neither be sufficient. Try to match the experts and their budgets on “the other side” (GM and their marketing experts specialized in changing preferences).
But regulation might help. An example: In Norway the state prohibited smoking in public buildings (work places etc.) in the 1980s. This led to a change in attitudes towards smoking – smoking is socially much less acceptable today than it was then. So while earlier, it was ok to smoke in the presence of others also in private places, it nowadays isn’t. People now maximise “utility” by gaining social acceptance from not smoking, trading it off against the “utility” from smoking. Economically speaking this is some multiple equilibrium model with one socially bad and one good equilibrium where a shift was provoked by regulation (to be found in: Nyborg and Rege, 2003: “On social norms: the evolution of considerate smoking behaviour”).
So why not find a politically acceptable regulation that does the same to all sorts of socially undesirable (climate unfriendly) behaviour such as “driving 2.5 tonne SUVs”, “not using public transport” and all the other stuff which might be “bad equilibrium outcomes” of changeable social norms?

Two, the time-context: People are context dependent in the sense that they have habits. You may do things because you’re used to doing them; because you have refined your particular “consumption technique” and/or because you have no experience with and hence an erroneous perception of your alternatives. “Utility” is a function of what you’ve gotten used to. So policies intended to make people change habits might have some success as well.

Don’t get me wrong - I don’t want to take the sovereignty from the consumer. She or he may prefer large cars, the convenience of door – to door, privacy or whatever a car offers. I just suggest that each consumer might not be so sovereign to start with…


Svenn Jensen
TØI - Institute of Transport Economics
Oslo, Norway
Post #65
Posted Friday, May 09, 2008 4:25 PM
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Agree completely with Svenn Jensens' broadening of what we mean by utility? If society's individuals feel they derive utility from 2 1/2 tonne utility vehicles (nice puns), I think we're in big trouble with climate. Will even $100/tonne of CO2 change that utility? Well, $100/tonne Co2 is 88 US Cents/gallon, well under the price increases in gasoline since 2002.

Let's see in the coming months how much the demand for SUV's changes with higher fuel prices -- the increase in US SUV standards ordered in 2002 was small and now dwarfed by the recently passed standards. So we have a chance to see how much prices alone will affect the sales of different kinds of vehicles as the manufacture prepare (hopefully) to both improve technologies in the short run and respond to the higher fuel economy standards in the US, Europe and Japan in the longer run.

Lee Schipper
Berkeley

Lee Schipper
Visiting Scholar
UC Berkeley
Post #66
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008 6:10 PM


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Market instruments do not work well in improving fuel efficiency and GHGs of vehicles and fuels. The problem is that consumers are inelastic in response to fuel prices, and fuel suppliers are inelastic on supply side (2 studies in US show short term fuel price elasticity to be far less than 10% (-0.10), a dramatic drop from what it was in the past). The problem on the fuel side is lack of choices and options, and the problem on the demand side, especially in the US, is exactly the same -- lack of alternatives to the car. And thus performance standards, such as EU GHG stds, US CAFE stds, and California low carbon fuel standards, are far more effective than carbon/fuel taxes and cap and trade. Of course really large taxes will have a big effect, but it doesn't appear that either US or EU is willing to significantly increase fuel taxes. Complement the performance standards with some more modest marekt instruments such as feebates, coupled with rules to jumpstart some technologies (such as California's ZEV rules), and then we have a real climate/energy policy for vehicles and fuels.

Dan Sperling, UC Davis

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