Is Adaptation Conflicting with Mitigation Policies in Transport?
Angel Aparicio, Technical University Madrid (UPM)
the paper makes a systematic review of current practices in the adaptation of transport systems to climate change from the perspective of their likely long-term interaction with policies that try to curb GHG emissions in the transport sector.
Adaptation of transport systems to climate change is emerging as a novel challenge for transport stakeholders. Initial responses have focused on the identification of vulnerability and the adoption of measures to address them and gain resilience. More recent efforts include the development of specific tools to assess vulnerability and the revision of technical standards and guidelines, as a means to increase the capacity of transport systems to respond to extreme weather events and conditions that are expected to increase in the future, following possible changes in climate.
This paper is based on an extensive review of adaptation experiences in Europe, undertaken in the context of the preparation of the recent report of the European Environment Agency "Adaptation of transport to climate change in Europe: Challenges and options across transport modes and stakeholders". As a follow-up to that report, the paper makes a systematic review of those case studies from the perspective of their likely long-term interaction with policies underway or planned in Europe to curb GHG emissions in the transport sector.
The paper concludes that gaining resilience is not necessarily complementary to mitigation policies; in fact, in some cases, it could be claimed that gaining resilience could also result in (a) further dependency on high-emiting transport practices, (b) more rigid transport systems, with a difficult to adapt to long-term changes in demand associated to low-carbon transition strategies, and (c) lock-ins in current mitigation strategies, making it difficult to implement the expected changes in terms of technologies and modal split. The paper suggests some lines of discussion to address these challenges.
Association for European Transport