Climate impact of transportation: A model comparison
Journal article, 2013

Transportation contributes to a significant and rising share of global energy use and GHG emissions. Therefore modeling future travel demand, its fuel use, and resulting CO2 emission is highly relevant for climate change mitigation. In this study we compare the baseline projections for global service demand (passenger-kilometers, ton-kilometers), fuel use, and CO2 emissions of five different global transport models using harmonized input assumptions on income and population. For four models we also evaluate the impact of a carbon tax. All models project a steep increase in service demand over the century. Technology change is important for limiting energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the study also shows that in order to stabilise or even decrease emissions radical changes would be required. While all models project liquid fossil fuels dominating up to 2050, they differ regarding the use of alternative fuels (natural gas, hydrogen, biofuels, and electricity), because of different fuel price projections. The carbon tax of 200 USD/tCO2 in 2050 stabilizes or reverses global emission growth in all models. Besides common findings many differences in the model assumptions and projections indicate room for further understanding long-term trends and uncertainty in future transport systems.

global transport scenarios

alternative fuels

models comparison


energy system


Bastien Girod

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH)

Utrecht University

D. van Duuren

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Utrecht University

Maria Grahn

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Alban Kitous

Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

Son H Kim

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

P. Kyle

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Climatic Change

0165-0009 (ISSN) 1573-1480 (eISSN)

Vol. 118 3-4 595-608

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Energy Systems



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