Fuel/carbon price vs. abatement technology in freight transport

Eugen F. Spangenberg

The current situation is the exponential increase in greenhouse gases (GHG), which is mainly caused by industrial and transport activities. The recent Paris agreement in 2015 (Framework Convention on Climate Change COP21, UNFCCC) made it clear to everyone that CO2 emissions are to be limited in all areas of life. Alternative fuels with a lower environmental impact than carbon (CO2) emissions are hard to find if the overall footprint is to be taken into account. Nevertheless, there are some fuels that have less impact on climate change. One the other hand, the production of biofuels is a controversial matter, although it is a viable alternative to emissions reduction. CNG or LNG-powered vehicles are also better in terms of environmental pollution, but are hardly better with regard to CO2 impact when a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is carried out. LNG (liquid natural gas), for example, is the future fuel in the maritime sector because of the stricter environmental regulations (SOx,NOx) in the shipping industry. The battery-powered vehicle is another example of an environmentally friendly solution. The aforementioned measures can be considered as “abatement“ necessary in order to limit CO2 impact. The study shows that there are significant differences in the environmental impact between transport systems and the corresponding drive-system or associated energy base. The polluter should pay, which is a common basic principle in economic research. The Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) has been introduced in order to ensure a reduction in CO2 output – emissions come with a price tag. An overall view is necessary, both environmental and economic impact must be reconciled (cf. Spangenberg – TQI). The future viability of the transport system as we know it may change significantly over time if new environmental requirements or e.g. CO2 taxes or ETS are introduced in the freight sector. The abatement of CO2 should be effected primarily through technological measures such as the correct and sustainable choice of vehicle and energy source.. The imminent introduction of external costs (cf. M.Bac) in the transport sector is another reason for comparative studies.

Fuel/carbon price vs. abatement technology in freight transport


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