QUANTIFY Study Finds GHG Emissions from Global Transport Could Double Their Net Contribution to Warming by 2100
Transport emissions could double their current relative net contribution to global warming by 2100, according to a new study by researchers at the Oslo-based Centre for International Climate and Environment Research (CICERO) in Norway.
The study’s results, presented in the journal Atmospheric Environment, are part of the EU-funded QUANTIFY (Quantifying the climate impact of global and European transport systems) project, which received €8.39 million (US$12.6 million) under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The researchers first calculated the historic contributions from transport, concluding that transport in total has contributed 9% of total net man-made warming in the year 2000. The dominating contributor to warming is CO2, followed by tropospheric O3. By sector, they found that road transport is the largest contributor—11% of the warming in 2000 is due to this sector. Aviation contributed 4% and rail 1%.
Shipping, on the other hand, has caused a net cooling up to year 2000, with a contribution of -7%, due to the effects of SO2 and NOx emissions.
They then calculated the development in future global mean temperature for four transport scenarios consistent with the IPCC SRES scenarios, one mitigation scenario and one sensitivity test scenario.
The total net contribution from the transport sectors to total man-made warming is 15% in 2050, and reaches 20% in 2100 in the A1 and B1 scenarios. For all scenarios and throughout the century, road transport is the dominating contributor to warming. Due to the anticipated reduction in sulphur content of fuels, the net effect of shipping changes from cooling to warming by the end of the century. Significant uncertainties are related to the estimates of historical and future net warming mainly due to cirrus, contrails and aerosol effects, as well as uncertainty in climate sensitivity.
—Skeie et al.
More travelling and international trade drive the emission increase. Road transport gives the largest contribution and will most likely continue to do so in the future.
—Dr. Jan S. Fuglestvedt, director of research at CICERO
A total of 40 partners from EU Member States including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the UK, as well as Russia and the US are participating in the QUANTIFY project, which is being coordinated by Germany’s Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) and is due to end in February 2010.
Skeie, R. B., et al. (2009) Global temperature change from the transport sectors: Historical development and future scenarios. Atmospheric Environment, 43, 39, 6260-6270. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.05.025