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Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Transport beyond 2020: Linking R&D, Transport Policies and Reduction Targets

State of the Art - Background

In early 2007, the EU adopted the objective to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius (EC COM(2007)2). More specifically, European leaders defined a target to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 20% by 2020, or 30% if an international agreement is achieved, compared with the emission levels of 1990. By 2050 the reductions of the EU emissions should reach 60 to 80%.

Transport currently contributes about 27% of the total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In a trend scenario this share is expected to grow due to continued strong growth of transport demand, particularly freight and air passenger transport.

The existing GHG reduction targets do not assign a specific reduction target for the transport sector, though for specific modes like air transport the planned inclusion into the European emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) will indirectly impose targets for these modes in a few years.

Given the overall EU GHG reduction targets, it is obvious that in the future the transport sector will have to contribute to GHG emission reductions, so that reduction targets for the different transport modes can be anticipated, and aligned research strategies and transport policies can be developed to meet these reduction targets efficiently and effectively for the medium to long term.


The main objective of GhG-TransPoRD is to support the EU in defining a feasible research and policy strategy for GHG reductions in transport that fits and contributes to the overall GHG reduction targets of the EU. Such a policy strategy would propose GHG reduction targets for transport as a whole as well as for each transport mode.

The project aims to contribute to the development of a research strategy for the EU to reduce the GHG emissions of the different transport modes and so link this research strategy with the available policy measures. Thus the project supports the Seventh Framework Programme objective to develop integrated, greener and smarter transport systems.

The following detailed goals should be achieved:

- identify promising and feasible measures (i.e. technology pathways and policies) that reduce GHG emissions of transport;

- techno-economic analysis of details of promising measures to estimate the effectiveness of GHG reductions as well as technical feasibility, economic cost and affordability;

- formulate scenarios consisting of both selected technology pathways and transport policies that would achieve GHG reduction targets for 2020 and 2050, and linking the promising scenarios with a suggestion for an EU research strategy;

- communicate with stakeholders about project findings and recent advancements to have a platform of mutual understanding.

Description of Work

The following five basic elements constitute the concept of the project:

1. GHG-TransPoRD will take a backcasting approach to develop an integrated R&D strategy for climate and transport in the EU by analysing existing European R&D strategy and the existing innovations system of the transport sectors, together with the policy projects already available which come from different sources, i.e. policy decisions and policy documents, European technology platforms of the business and research communities, as well as past and ongoing European research projects.

2. Available transport policies and technologies will be synchronised to generate an R&D strategy.

3. Policy-makers have quantified GHG reduction targets for two time horizons so both these are focused on, i.e. 2020 and 2050, for the formulation of the R&D strategy and GHG reduction targets for transport. Detailed parameters of the measures will be elaborated.

4. A mix of qualitative/quantitative desk research with advanced modelling approaches will be carried out to assess the impacts of analysed measures.

5. A communication strategy will be developed enabling the research strategies developed by the Technology Platforms and Joint Technology Initiatives related to transport to be taken into account, as well as communicating and exchanging the findings of GHG-TransPoRD with the stakeholders.

Expected Results

The final output of the project should be the suggestion of an integrated strategy for the EU that links R&D policy for transport with a transport policy strategy so that the GHG reduction targets for 2020 and 2050 can also be met for transport. At this stage we presuppose that the EU reduction targets for 2020 (30%) and 2050 (60 to 80%) would constitute a feasible objective for the development of future transport GHG emissions. If more detailed targets are specified by policy-makers during the course of the project then the Consortium will take these into account.

Proposed policy measures and R&D strategy will be documented in project reports that can be downloaded from the website. These will also be presented at a final conference.