On December 31, 2022, npj Urban Sustainability published the paper “Decarbonization scenarios and carbon reduction potential for China's road transportation by 2060”co-written by Professor Wang Shouyang and Professor Duan Hongbo, Doctoral students Shi Huiting and Liu Yi, and 4 collaborators from other universities.
The transportation sector is a crucial source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the degree of its low-carbon transformation is closely related to the achievement of China’s carbon neutrality. Based on high-frequency passenger vehicle sales data and motor vehicle real-time monitoring big data, we developed a low-carbon transition planning model of China road transport (CRT-LCTP) to explore the pathways toward carbon neutrality. The study found that although the number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) increased four times from 2016 to 2019, the average annual growth rate of road traffic emissions was still as high as 20.5%. The current transportation electrification may only reduce 0.6% of the total emissions in this sector, and it could be increased to 1.4% if the electricity completely came from clean energy. Under the enhanced policy scenario, the transport sector could peak its carbon emissions at around of 2030, with the peak level being 1330.98 Mt. Transportation electrification along could not meet the climate targets in 2060, and the continued inertia of fuel vehicles will slow the path of the road transport toward carbon neutrality, which depends on the forced elimination of fuel vehicles and more substantive decarbonization measures.