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Achieving a green transportation supply chain may involve several nontrivial challenges. Below we present some of them, with the understanding that the rest of this book will provide a more detailed picture.

Ambitious Environmental Goals

As a first example, we outline some of the main challenges in Europe.

The EU 2011 White Paper on Transport[1] aims, at a high-level target, at reducing by year 2050 transportation-related GHG emissions by at least 60 % with respect to 1990 levels. Lower-level targets that are related to the sustainability of transportation include the following (see Chap. 1 for more details):

• By 2030, halve the use of “conventionally fuelled” cars in urban transport; by 2050, phase them out in cities.

• By 2030, achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centers.

• By 2030, 30 % of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as

rail or waterborne transport, and more than 50 % by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.

• By 2050, reduce EU CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40 % (if feasible by 50 %).

• By 2050, increase the use of low-carbon sustainable fuels in aviation to 40 %.

• Move towards full application of “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles and private sector engagement to eliminate distortions, including harmful subsidies, generate revenues, and ensure financing for future transportation investments.

Challenges in other parts of the developed world (including North America, Japan, and Australia) are quite similar. They may be even more pronounced in developing economies in Asia, South America, and Africa. Many of the latter countries question the basic premise that they should be subject to the same kinds of environmental guidelines as in developed economies, on the ground that this may impede their own economic development. International bodies such as the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and others are routinely presented with arguments centering on what is known as the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) principle, which gives developing countries ground for such a position (more on CBDR on Chap. 8).

Whatever the viewpoint, the main challenge in all cases seems to be the following: how can international transportation grow and be profitable in the face of such ambitious environmental goals?

  • [1] [COM (211) 144] 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area—Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.'
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