The Transportation Sector as a Lever for Reducing Long-term Mitigation Costs in China
Chinese transport activity has grown rapidly in recent years, and curbing CO2 emissions from this sector is a major challenge. This paper investigates the potentials offered by both technological solutions and changes in infrastructure deployment strategy that can address this challenge. The research is carried out by using the IMACLIM-R energy-economy-environment (E3) model which includes a detailed description of passenger and freight transportation dynamics. The standard representation of transport technologies is supplemented with an explicit representation of the “behavioral” determinants of mobility. Although they drive transport demand, these determinants are often disregarded in mitigation assessments. This framework considers (i) the spatial organization of housing and production, (ii) modal choices induced by transport infrastructures and (iii) the freight transport intensity of production and distribution processes. It is found that supplementing carbon pricing with measures promoting a modal shift towards low-carbon transport modes and a decoupling of economic activity from mobility needs, change the sectoral distribution of mitigation efforts and significantly reduce the macro-economic mitigation costs.