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Article: The effects of environmental transport policies on the environment, economy and employment in Portugal

Pedro Nunes, Fábio Pinheiro and Miguel C. Brito from the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon had generously accepted to work on the climate jobs in the transport sector. The Portuguese climate jobs campaign benefited directly from their work, which we integrated into the campaign report. This work resulted in a Master’s Thesis in the faculty, and more recently an article was published in Journal of Cleaner Production (Volume 213, 10 March 2019, Pages 428-439) with the title “The effects of environmental transport policies on the environment, economy and employment in Portugal”.

One of the key findings of this work is the very high co-dependency between reductions in CO2 emissions and employment, such that each 10% in CO2 emissions decrease corresponds to an increase of c.a. 4% in transportation employment.


The transport sector, accountable for a large share of climate change and pollution, is on the verge of changing over the coming decades. To lead it through the best path, carefully designed public transport policies are needed, since they have several important secondary effects on the society and economy. However, their assessment is not straightforward, as the transport sector comprises millions of actors with heterogeneous behavior. This study estimates the impacts of the promotion of market- and command-and-control based pro-environmental transport policies on the mobility, environment and economy. For the case study of Portugal, several sets of policies until 2050 were tested by means of a ‘what-if’ type policy analysis using the ASTRA-EC model, and the results were compared with a business-as-usual scenario. The results show that the policies are effective at shifting passenger travelling to public transportation, but care must be taken when promoting the market deployment of clean vehicles or penalizing those less clean, due to a rebound effect on car usage. The largest CO2 emissions reductions (26%) are related to the application of policies promoting the deployment of electric vehicles, suggesting that this is an essential measure to curb emissions. It was also observed that cleaner vehicles complying with post-Euro 6 emissions standard are important at reducing pollutants (by up to −27%). This happens at the same time as economy is improved by 0.5–1.1% and employment by 0.22%, i.e., tackling the issue of transportation is synergic with the economy. Despite the encouraging results in relative terms, absolute transport emissions in Portugal in 2050 increase by at least 15% in relation to 1990, far short from the environmental objectives to significantly cut emissions.

You can read the full article here.

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