Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – Examples from the freight transport sector: Essays on economic growth, public policy instruments, and renewable energy.
Licentiate thesis, 2021

The overall aim of this thesis is to improve the understanding of if, and how, we can combat climate change and other non-wanted environmental changes alongside economic development. Paper I address this question by investigating the relationship between CO2 emissions and GDP per capita. Using panel data analysis, an N-shaped relationship is found for lower-middle- and high-income countries, indicating that CO2-emissions increase with economic growth beyond a certain income level. However, no significant relationship is found for upper-middle-income countries. The study also shows that increasing the share of renewable energy is crucial for reducing CO2-emissions.

Paper III investigate the performance of European public policy instruments promoting a modal shift of freight transports from road to rail and/or water. Performing a literature review, 93 public policies are identified, whereof ex-post evaluations are found for 20. The evaluated policies are mainly subsidies/grants at national level, or EU-policies. Variation in evaluation methods and performance indicators complicates comparisons of policy performance. However, policies promoting rail are in general more successful than those promoting waterborne transport. Common factors for underachievement include lack of applications, outreach problems, and complicated application processes. Furthermore, broad and general policy targets complicate evaluation as well as fulfilment of objectives.

Paper II analyse barriers, opportunities, and potential solutions to renewable energy diffusion, focusing on liquefied biogas for heavy trucks. Interviews with experts and stakeholders in Sweden show that main barriers include financial limits, lacking infrastructure, lacking knowledge, and unstable policy instruments. Yet, several policy instruments already target the barriers to LBG diffusion and given current taxes and subsidies, costs of using LBG trucks are only marginally higher than those for using diesel trucks in Sweden. Thus, continuously evaluating policy performance is important.

Greenhouse gas emissions


Environmental Kuznets curve

Modal shift

Economic development

Liquefied biogas

Public policy instruments

Climate change mitigation

Freight transport

Renewable energy

Rum SB-S393
Opponent: Johan Woxenius, Göteborgs Universitet, Sverige


Johanna Takman

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering

The N-shaped environmental Kuznets curve: An empirical evaluation using a panel quantile regression approach.

Environmental Science and Pollution Research,; Vol. 25(2018)p. 5848-5861

Journal article

Takman, J., Gonzalex-Aregall, M. 2021. A review of policy instruments to promote freight modal shift in Europe: Evidence from evaluations. VTI Working Paper 2021:6.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


Public Administration Studies

Environmental Sciences

Lic / Architecture and Civil Engineering / Chalmers University of Technology: 2021:7


Chalmers University of Technology

Rum SB-S393


Opponent: Johan Woxenius, Göteborgs Universitet, Sverige

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