Vehicle emissions of short-lived and long-lived climate forcers: trends and tradeoffs†
Evaluating technology options to mitigate the climate impacts of road transportation can be challenging, particularly when they involve a tradeoff between long-lived emissions (e.g., carbon dioxide) and short-lived emissions (e.g., methane or black carbon). Here we present trends in short- and long-lived emissions for light- and heavy-duty transport globally and in the U.S., EU, and China over the period 2000–2030, and we discuss past and future changes to vehicle technologies to reduce these emissions. We model the tradeoffs between short- and long-lived emission reductions across a range of technology options, life cycle emission intensities, and equivalency metrics. While short-lived vehicle emissions have decreased globally over the past two decades, significant reductions in CO2 will be required by mid-century to meet climate change mitigation targets. This is true regardless of the time horizon used to compare long- and short-lived emissions. The short-lived emission intensities of some low-CO2 technologies are higher than others, and thus their suitability for meeting climate targets depends sensitively on the evaluation time horizon. Other technologies offer low intensities of both short-lived emissions and CO2.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Atmospheric chemistry in the Anthropocene