Quantifying the potentials of transport CO2 emissions reductions through prospective scenarios analysis

Prospective scenarios are essential to study the future possible paths to reach climate goals, their necessary changes and measures associated. This is especially the case for the ambitious target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 in France, which plans almost zero emission for the transportation sector. The French low carbon strategy identifies 5 drivers to limit transport CO2 emissions: transport demand, modal shift, vehicle load factor, energy efficiency, and carbon intensity of the energy. This paper compares 13 passenger and 10 freight transport prospective scenarios for France, in order to quantify the potential of these drivers in limiting transport CO2 emissions, using a decomposition analysis of emissions changes. The main conclusions of the analysis are the following: (1) Among the 5 drivers, energy efficiency and carbon intensity bring the most important CO2 emissions reductions for all transport scenarios. (2) The comparison with past trends shows the need for important accelerations on these two factors, questioning the realism of such rapid changes. (3) It highlights the importance of action also on transport demand, modal shift and load factors, which may allow up to -20% emissions each for the most ambitious scenarios. (4) The national strategy shows little ambition on these drivers and especially on transport demand; the most ambitious scenarios indicate an additional potential of -32% of passenger and -50% of freight energy demand reduction due to these three drivers, then facilitating the climate target achievement, and allowing significant co-benefits in terms of transport externalities, resources pressures and transition costs reductions.

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