Rebound: unintended consequences of transport policy and technology

The issues behind transport policy and technology and their unintended consequences.

Transport accounts for about 20% of global manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 24% of emissions in the UK, and is the only sector where emissions are still rising. The carbon reduction targets are challenging and policy makers have to make bold decisions to reduce the CO2 emissions and energy use from transport. Those reductions will have to be implemented through a mix of behavioural changes and technical innovations.

Policy makers must not get overwhelmed by their task and use the rebound effect as an excuse to do nothing. Whole life cycle analysis has to be performed, and policy makers have to be careful that emissions are not simply moved from one sector to another. Carbon pricing needs to be considered as a means to mitigate the indirect rebound effect.