Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – Examples from the freight transport sector: Essays on economic growth, public policy instruments, and renewable energy
Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis is to improve the understanding of if, and how, we can combat climate change and other non-wanted environmental changes alongside economic development. Paper I address this question by investigating the relationship between CO2 emissions and GDP per capita. Using panel data analysis, an N-shaped relationship is found for lower-middle- and high-income countries, indicating that CO2-emissions increase with economic growth beyond a certain income level. However, no significant relationship is found for upper-middle-income countries. The study also shows that increasing the share of renewable energy is crucial for reducing CO2-emissions. Paper III investigate the performance of European public policy instruments promoting a modal shift of freight transports from road to rail and/or water. Performing a literature review, 93 public policies are identified, whereof ex-post evaluations are found for 20. The evaluated policies are mainly subsidies/grants at national level, or EU-policies. Variation in evaluation methods and performance indicators complicates comparisons of policy performance. However, policies promoting rail are in general more successful than those promoting waterborne transport. Common factors for underachievement include lack of applications, outreach problems, and complicated application processes. Furthermore, broad and general policy targets complicate evaluation as well as fulfilment of objectives. Paper II analyse barriers, opportunities, and potential solutions to renewable energy diffusion, focusing on liquefied biogas for heavy trucks. Interviews with experts and stakeholders in Sweden show that main barriers include financial limits, lacking infrastructure, lacking knowledge, and unstable policy instruments. Yet, several policy instruments already target the barriers to LBG diffusion and given current taxes and subsidies, costs of using LBG trucks are only marginally higher than those for using diesel trucks in Sweden. Thus, continuously evaluating policy performance is important.
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