IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

5 Transport and its infrastructure

Status and development of the sector

Transport activity is increasing around the world as econo- mies grow. This is especially true in many areas of the developing world where globalization is expanding trade flows, and rising personal incomes are amplifying demand for motorized mobility. Current transportation activity is mainly driven by internal combustion engines powered by petroleum fuels (95% of the 83 EJ of world transport energy use in 2004). As a consequence, petroleum use closely follows the growth in transportation activity. In 2004, transport energy amounted to 26% of total world energy use. In the developed world, transport energy use continues to increase at slightly more than 1% per year; passenger transport currently consumes 60–75% of total transport energy there. In developing countries, transport energy use is rising faster (3 to 5% per year) and is projected to grow from 31% in 2002 to 43% of world transport energy use by 2025 [5.2.1, 5.2.2].

Transport activity is expected to grow robustly over the next several decades. Unless there is a major shift away from current patterns of energy use, projections foresee a continued growth in world transportation energy use of 2% per year, with energy use and carbon emissions about 80% above 2002 levels by 2030 [5.2.2]. In developed economies, motor vehicle ownership approaches five to eight cars for every ten inhabitants (Figure TS.14). In the developing world, levels of vehicle ownership are much lower; non-motorized transport plays a significant role, and there is a greater reliance on two- and three-wheeled motorized vehicles and public transport. The motorization of transport in the developing world is, however, expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades. As incomes grow and the value of travellers’ time increases, travellers are expected to choose faster modes of transport, shifting from non-motorized to automotive, to air and high-speed rail. Increasing speed has generally led to greater energy intensity and higher GHG emissions.

In addition to GHG emissions, the motorization of transport has created congestion and air-pollution problems in large cities all around the world (high agreement, much evidence) [5.2.1; 5.2.2; 5.5.4].

Figure TS.14

Figure TS.14: Vehicle ownership and income per capita as a time line per country [Figure 5.2].

Note: data are for 1900–2002, but the years plotted vary by country, depending on data availability.