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Modeling the Global Annual Carbon Footprint for the Transportation Sector and a Path to Sustainability


The transportation industry’s transition to carbon neutrality is essential for addressing sustainability concerns. This study details a model for calculating the carbon footprint of the transportation sector as it progresses towards carbon neutrality. The model aims to support policymakers in estimating the potential impact of various decisions regarding transportation technology and infrastructure. It accounts for energy demand, technological advancements, and infrastructure upgrades as they relate to each transportation market: passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and trains. A technology roadmap underlies this model, outlining anticipated advancements in batteries, hydrogen storage, biofuels, renewable grid electricity, and carbon capture and sequestration. By estimating the demand and the technologies that comprise each transportation market, the model estimates carbon emissions. Results indicate that based on the technology roadmap, carbon neutrality can be achieved by 2070 for the transportation sector. Furthermore, the model found that carbon neutrality can still be achieved with slippage in the technology development schedule; however, delays in infrastructure updates will delay carbon neutrality, while resulting in a substantial increase in the cumulative carbon footprint of the transportation sector.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United States

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