Scenarios for increasing climate protection in the transport sector

In view of ongoing climate change, a huge reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is needed in the decades ahead. Although it has already been possible to make significant progress in other sectors, the situation in the transport sector is particularly difficult. While vehicles are becoming increasingly efficient, the volume of kilometres travelled is also continuing to increase, with the result that transport emissions in Germany are only slightly under 1990 levels. Hardly any modal shift towards environmentally friendly means of transport has been observed up to now.

Therefore it is urgently necessary to demonstrate to what extent and with what measures the transport sector can contribute towards the fulfilment of climate protection targets. To this end, development paths that are consistent in the medium and long term need to be presented in scenario analyses.

As a basis for this, researchers at Oeko-Institut developed the transport and emissions model TEMPS (Transport Emissions and Policy Scenarios). With TEMPS the final energy needs and greenhouse gas emissions of the transport sector can be determined for various feasible developments and changes shown in transport demand, the vehicle stock and fuel use.

Oeko-Institut is developing climate protection scenarios for the transport sector in a number of projects:

eMobil 2050 – Scenarios for possible contribution of electric mobility to long-term climate protection

In the „eMobil 2050“ research project, experts at Oeko-Institut are analyzing the role that electricity can play as an energy source for transport up to 2050 and what contribution to climate protection it can make in interaction with the energy sector.

The key goals of this research project, which is funded by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), are:

  • To examine the technical development perspectives of different electrical propulsion systems and the potentials of electricity-based fuels in motorized passenger, freight and public transport up to 2050.
  • To develop consistent scenarios for the market development of electric propulsion systems and electricity-based fuels up to 2050.
  • To determine the additional electricity demand and the demand for electricity-based fuels and the effects of electric mobility on electricity production and the associated CO2 emissions.

In a related scenario process approx. 15 to 20 representatives of the transport and energy industries, research and civil society elaborated visions and scenarios for the transport sector in 2050. They discussed how electric mobility can develop together with additional changes in the transport sector.

The results of the „eMobil 2050“ research project serve as a basis for the long-term design of political framework conditions for promoting electric mobility. In addition, they provide points of departure for the interactions that can arise with the energy sector and for the extent to which it will be necessary to make more renewable energy available in 2050 to meet the additional demand in the transport sector.

The first results of the expert workshops show that electricity-based fuels can only be expected to contribute to climate protection in the long term and only decrease GHG emissions when electricity from renewable energies can be used to produce fuels such as hydrogen, synthetic liquid fuels and methane. However, relevant surpluses of renewable energies in the electricity sector, which make long-term electricity storage necessary, are only to be expected in the medium to long term.

Expert accompanying research for “Decarbonisation of the transport sector” project

Environmental associations are planning to present a joint mobility and climate protection concept for the transport sector in Germany for 2050. Against the background of a necessary overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 95 per cent, the associations are developing different climate protection scenarios, for which Oeko-Institut is providing expert accompanying research. The goal is to set clear short- and medium-term intermediate targets and measures and to make policy recommendations. WWF Germany is providing the platform for the cooperation; and the project is funded by the German Federal Environment Agency.

Climate Protection Scenario 2050 project

How can Germany, based on all sectors with an energy demand, bring about an 80 to 95 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050? Oeko-Institut is providing answers to this question in the “Climate Protection Scenario 2050” project, which is being conducted in cooperation with Fraunhofer-ISI.

Researchers at Oeko-Institut are analyzing the measures and the developments needed to meet the climate protection targets. They are ensuring that a consistent overview is provided by taking into account other sectors with an energy demand. Oeko-Institut’s TEMPS model is being utilized to determine the vehicle stock and the final energy development in the transport sector while the land-based transport demand is being determined using Fraunhofer ISI’s ASTRA-D model.

Carbon-neutral transport 2050: A scenario for increasing electrification and the use of electricity-based fuels in transport

If 100% of the supply for the transport sector comes from electricity and electricity-based fuels in 2050, the electricity demand of the transport sector would correspond to the total electricity production in Germany today. This electricity would also have to be fully carbon-neutral to guarantee carbon neutrality in 2050.

This is the finding of a research project commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency. Within the scope of the research project the experts developed a scenario for the transport sector in 2050 in which electricity and electricity-based fuels make up 100 per cent of the energy sources. The final energy and electricity needs were determined – alongside the GHG emissions – using Oeko-Institut’s TEMPS scenario model. In consultation with the commissioning entity, measures reducing greenhouse gas emissions (transport reduction, modal shift and efficiency improvements) were included in the scenario development.

The project results constitute the basis for the development of the transport sector in the German Federal Environment Agency’s multi-sector study “Carbon-neutral Germany in 2050”.

Final report “Carbon-neutral transport 2050: A scenario for increasing electrification and the use of electricity-based fuels in transport” (in German)

“Carbon-neutral Germany in 2050” study by German Federal Environment Agency (in German)

Renewbility I and II: Material flow analysis for sustainable mobility in the context of renewable energy until 2030

In the cooperation project Renewbility I, Oeko-Institut developed a set of analysis tools together with the DLR Institute of Transport Research (DLR-IVF), which show the measures and effects of future sustainable transport policy and quantify reduction potentials. The scenario analyses showed that climate protection is possible in the transport sector and that the CO2 emissions of transport could decrease by 23 per cent by 2030 despite transport development remaining more or less the same. However, ambitious measures – e.g. the further expansion of local public transport, updating emission standards for passenger cars and an increase of the lorry toll and fuel prices – are necessary.
On this basis, the researchers at Oeko-Institut, DLR-IVF and Fraunhofer-ISI elaborated ideas for making the transport sector’s contribution to climate protection as far-reaching as possible in the follow-up project, Renewbility II. Further measures – which go beyond technical efficiency improvements – are needed to achieve this. Above all a modal shift in freight and passenger transport from road to rail must be promoted. All modes of transport must be incorporated in infrastructure planning in equal measure and at an early stage and alternative mobility and transport concepts must be developed and promoted. Both research projects were funded by the German Federal Environment Agency and the German Environment Ministry.

More information about renewbility on the website of Oeko-Institut

Electric mobility as a building block of energy transformation and climate protection

At the centre of Oeko-Institut’s above-titled research project is the question of how climate protection targets in the transport sector can be met and final energy needs reduced. The experts are modelling possible developments in the transport sector, including electric mobility, in order to be able to analyze the interactions of specific instruments and measures in terms of transport demand, energy consumption and GHG emissions.

This research project builds upon Renewbility’s integrated model system and stakeholder dialogue and develops them further. Among the planned changes are, for example, extending the time frame of the scenarios to 2050, including electric mobility in transport demand and expanding the vehicle concepts in passenger and freight transport.

The research required is complex and wide ranging. To fulfil the objectives, the project team is made up of four research institutes, which conduct work on transport and environment with different areas of specialization: Oeko-Institut e.V., Institute of Transport Research in the German Aerospace Center, INFRAS and ifeu.