Friday, April 13, 2012

University of Cambridge: Changes needed for Europe to meet emission goals

If Europe is to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for 2050, then it is going to have to make a series of policy interventions.

That’s the verdict of a new study by the University of Cambridge (logo, pictured), Stanford University and MIT.

It reports that even if widespread adoption of the most promising technologies of all transport modes occurs, it may still not be enough – due to the limitations in biofuel production capacity and the lack of technologies able to drastically cut the levels of CO2 emissions from aviation and heavy trucks.

In a paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the team outlined three potential trends: baseline, in which past trends continue; challenging, in which there is rapid transportation demand and emissions growth; and favourable, which assumes slow transportation growth and emissions growth.

With no new policies in place it found that: emission trajectories vary by mode and geographical scope but will increase in nearly all cases; the largest increase comes from intercontinental aviation emissions; the adoption of new technologies is small because of research and development limitations; in the “challenging” scenario, intercontinental transport emissions could more than double by 2050; while in the favourable scenario, CO2 emissions decrease by about 10 per cent compared to 2010 levels.

Overall, an emissions decrease of 60 per cent or greater is achievable in 2050 only for direct intra-EU27 transport CO2 emissions in the baseline and favourable scenarios, it concludes – and is never possible in the challenging scenario.

As such it suggests that policy intervention is needed with many critical technologies needing EU-wide research and development investments to be produced at a commercial scale.

The Green Car Website

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