Climate Change Research ›› 2023, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (2): 203-212.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2022.184

• Greenhouse Gas Emissions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Global transportation energy transition pathways towards carbon neutrality

LI Dan-Yang1,2(), CHEN Wen-Ying1,2   

  1. 1 Research Center for Contemporary Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    2 Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • Received:2022-08-04 Revised:2022-11-14 Online:2023-03-30 Published:2023-02-03


The Paris Agreement proposed to control the global temperature rise within 2℃ at the end of the 21st century and strive to control it within 1.5℃. To this end, as of November 2021, more than 140 countries had proposed or were considering to propose carbon neutrality targets, covering 90% of global emissions. This fully reflects the ambition of these countries to reduce emissions in depth under the new climate governance system. As an important final energy consumption sector, the transportation sector plays an important role for all regions towards carbon neutrality targets. In this paper, the Global Multi-regional Energy Transition and Carbon Neutrality Analysis Model (GTIMES 2.0), which was developed and used to explore the transition pathways of the transportation energy towards carbon neutrality. Results show that carbon neutrality requires profound transitions in the global transportation energy system. Transportation carbon emissions will peak at 8.5 billion t in 2030 and drop to 2.7 billion t in 2050. Meanwhile, electricity and hydrogen will account for more than 60% of transportation energy in 2050. The road transportation will still be the biggest carbon emissions source in the future and the proportion of aviation will increase significantly because of the rapid growth of demands and the difficulty of decarbonization. Transportation carbon emissions in 11 of the 31 regions/countries, including European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea etc., have already peaked in 2018, while China, the “the Belt and Road” countries, India, etc., will peak around or after 2030. In 2050, the transportation carbon emissions of 23 regions/countries will decrease by more than 50% compared with 2018 with Brazil and Japan approaching net zero, while India even higher than 2018.

Key words: Energy system model, Energy transition, Carbon neutrality, Low-carbon transportation development

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