Net carbon balance study for selected roads in Tenerife, Canary Islands

Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2022 Dec 5. doi: 10.1002/ieam.4719. Online ahead of print.


Carbon dioxide emissions linked to the transport sector are particularly relevant to islands. The Canary Islands have high level of tourism, with tourists who generally travel in rented vehicles on arrival in the archipelago. In addition, mobility of the local population in the islands is also always growing. Thus, transport is one of the sectors that emits the greatest amount of greenhouse gases. In this sense, the net carbon balance becomes a pioneering study in the framework of management of high-capacity road transport routes and will help plan new strategies, which pursue the neutrality and climate resilience of the road network. It will therefore be possible to design different future scenarios, according to traffic intensities detected, to mitigate their local effects by increasing green areas, which will contribute to greater absorption. This study calculated the carbon footprint linked to vehicles on the three high-capacity roads on the island of Tenerife, as well as the carbon footprint of the public lighting attached to these roads. The absorption of carbon by vegetation planted by the Road Service and the soil located on the margins of the road have also been calculated to explore the possibility of modifying the vegetation, using other types of local shrubs and trees that have a higher absorption factor. The results demonstrate that conifers have the highest absorption factor, the Canary Island pine being the best option in this case. However, it is not always possible to place trees on the roadside, and it is necessary to resort to smaller species. This study concludes that better mobility planning, an increase in electric vehicles, improved energy production from renewable sources, and the promotion and enhancement of absorption capacity of carbon sinks are key in the face of climate change. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2022;00:1-8. © 2022 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

Keywords: Carbon footprint; carbon sequestration; climate change; green areas; tenerife roads.