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Wellesley College

Publication Date

Fall 2020

Program Name

Iceland: Climate Change and The Arctic


Paris Agreement’s chief objective is to protect the Earth and its inhabitants from a point of no return, when the effects of climate change will be so intense that they will shift the equilibrium of ecosystems. The distinctiveness of this international environmental treaty is that it does not impose climate change mitigation measures, but rather allows nation states to create their own set of measures, the NDCs, to reach the global warming of ‘well below 2oC’ by the end of the century. Thus, Iceland has submitted its own NDC, the Climate Action Plan 2018-2030, which has an ambitious goal of reducing the state’s overall GHG emissions by 35% by 2030. One of the two main objectives to achieve this is through GHG emission reductions from land transportation. This paper therefore investigates what is the most fitting path for Iceland to transition to the non-conventional vehicles while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint. In order to achieve this, three types of non-conventional vehicles and their current implementation in Iceland were investigated: Battery Electric, Compressed Natural Gas and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric vehicles. In the analysis of how suitable the three vehicle types would be for the unique conditions of Iceland and the plausibility of the transition to the nonconventional vehicles the following factors where investigated: price per service, cost of transition, adaptability to the country and the emissions reduction potential. The conclusion of the paper is that the current measures of the Icelandic national and local governments to implement a diverse mix of non-conventional vehicles are correct, however, due to Iceland’s unique resources there should be more investment in the hydrogen fuel and HFCEV sector.


Automotive Engineering | Climate | Environmental Policy | Environmental Sciences | Environmental Studies | European Languages and Societies | Power and Energy | Sustainability | Transportation | Transportation Engineering

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