The impact of current and future policies on energy related CO2 emissions in the domestic transport sector - A comparison of the USA and the People’s Republic of China with the Climate Action Tracker
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There is increasing awareness around the world of the influence of CO2 on climate change. In 2009, domestic transportation accounted for 27% of global final energy consumption and the USA had the largest CO2 emissions with 1.6 Gt, followed by China with 456 Mt. Both countries pledged under the Copenhagen Accord to reduce their CO2 emissions until 2020. The target of the USA is to reduce emissions by 17% under 2005 levels. China plans a reduction of 40-45% below 2005 levels per unit of GDP. This study focuses on these two countries and assesses the CO2 reduction potential of current and planned policies in the domestic transport sector in 2020 and whether the reduction is in line with the pledges. Further, it compares the policy strategies of the two countries and identifies gaps in the current policy strategies with the help of the Climate Action Tracker model. The Climate Action Tracker model uses evaluation against best practice and was further developed during the research. Both countries show similarities in their policy strategies, having fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and focusing on high speed rail and electric vehicles. Current and planned policies in China have a reduction potential of 68 Mt CO2 in 2020. Filling the policy gaps has a reduction potential of 420 Mt CO2. The corresponding values for the USA are 268 and 949 Mt CO2. With a conservative assumption for the Chinese GDP development, the upper end of the target range of the pledge (45%) is exceeded by 2% without further policy action. The policy impact exceeds the pledge by 7%, the reduction potential by 31%. Policies in the USA lead to a reduction of 21% below 2005 levels by 2020. The reduction potential is 58% below the 2005 levels. To fulfil the pledge under the Copenhagen Accord, this gives the other sectors a little buffer.