Decarbonization of the transportation sector is particularly difficult due to its near-complete reliance on refined fossil fuels at present. In this paper, we describe the energy needs of the main transportation sectors worldwide: road transportation, aviation and maritime shipping. There is a growing commitment to electrification as the dominant decarbonization pathway. While deep electrification is promising (if by no means a certainty) for road transportation in wealthy countries, it will face steep obstacles in other sectors and in the developing world. Transportation decarbonization will require decoupling emissions from economic growth, highlighting the need for both accelerated technology innovation as well as creativity and cooperation in governance. The menu of policy options is replete with grim tradeoffs, particularly as the primacy of energy security and reliability (over emissions abatement) has once again been demonstrated in Europe and elsewhere.
Geographic Coverage: Countries, Regions, Worldwide
Time Period(s): 1910 – 2018; 1970 – 2018
Data Source: World Bank, Demographic Datasets, 1970 - 2020
World Bank, "World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index." 2018
European Commission, "EDGAR-Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research. Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions," 2023.
Davis, Stacy C. and Robert G. Boundy, "Transportation Energy Data Book," 2022.
International Energy Agency, "Energy Statistics Data Browser," 2022.
Unit(s) of Observation: Region, annually, Country, annually
- Single study
- Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivorie, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgz Republic (Kyrgyzstan), Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Multinational/Crossnational, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
- Data and Code for: Global Transportation Decarbonization
- Single study