Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working papers in Transport Economics,
CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI)

No 2014:2: Is sustainable transport policy sustainable?

Jonas Eliasson () and Stef Proost ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Eliasson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Stef Proost: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The paper challenges the existing sustainable transport literature. Most sustainable transport plans focus on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in either one region or country and this neglects two handicaps of strong unilateral action. The first is that climate is a global commons problem so a strong binding international climate agreement is unlikely. The second is that a unilateral reduction of oil consumption by a limited number of countries will be partially, or even completely, offset by market responses – in some circumstances, cumulative emissions may even come earlier (the “green paradox”). When a coalition of the willing reduces oil use in the transport sector, this will delay rather than reduce total emissions. This requires rethinking climate policies for the transport sector: what policies remain cost effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Keywords: Climate change; Sustainable transport; Oil consumption; International negotiation

JEL-codes: R42; R48

21 pages, First version: January 20, 2014. Revised: September 29, 2014. Earlier revisions: September 29, 2014, September 29, 2014.

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CTS2014-2.pdf PDF-file 

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Published as
Jonas Eliasson and Stef Proost, (2015), 'Is sustainable transport policy sustainable?', Transport Policy, vol 37, pages 92-100

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