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Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent
Paper

Long Term Energy and Emission Implications of Global Shift to Electricity-Based Public Rail Transit System

Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Son H Kim
March 2014 | Low-Carbon Pathways

Suggested Citation: Chaturvedi, Vaibhav and Son H Kim. 2014. Long Term Energy and Emission Implications of Global Shift to Electricity-Based Public Rail Transit System. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Overview

This study focuses on the long-term energy and emission implications of an electric rail-based transportation system where the major share of travel services needs was met by electric rail. It modells scenarios related to a high share of electric rail in meeting passenger service demands to find its impact under the business as usual as well as under a climate policy scenario. Further, it analyses the impact of a higher share of electric rail technology on global energy and emission mitigation efforts.

Key Findings

  • A climate policy leads to significant economy-wide carbon emission reductions, but direct emissions from the transportation sector are only marginally impacted.
  • Target policy focussed on a higher share of electric rail would be successful in decreasing transportation sector final energy consumption by 5-20 per cent and carbon emissions by 8-49 per cent. However, the total economy-wide carbon emissions would decrease only by 1-3 per cent.

Global Passenger Service Under Reference and Climate Policy Scenarios

Global Passenger Service Under Reference and Climate Policy Scenarios
 
  • Higher electric rail share would lead to a reduction in long-term carbon price by 3-17 per cent and total discounted abatement cost by 2-9 per cent across the century.
  • Oil prices under both scenarios (reference and climate policy) would fall by 10 per cent in 2095 in the 50 per cent rail share scenario.
  • After 2050, the share of low-carbon light-duty vehicles (LDV) will increase to 20 per cent of global passenger service.
  • Due to increased penetration of alternative fuels like electricity, the final energy intensity of passenger transportation services in the developed economies is expected to decline at a faster rate compared to the developing economies.
  • Under the climate policy scenario, the total share of electric and hydrogen LDVs and buses will be 27 per cent in 2050 and 35 per cent in 2095.
  • A climate policy leads to a significant reduction in emissions in the overall economy through emission reductions from the electricity sector. It would lead to direct emission reduction of 30 per cent from the transportation sector by 2095.
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Target policy focussed on a higher share of electric rail would be successful in decreasing transportation sector final energy consumption by 5-20 per cent and carbon emissions by 8-49 per cent.

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