Thursday, December 8, 2016

How Can Transportation in the USA Become Carbon Free by 2050?

Also discussed here: Report: Global Warming Solutions (Environment America Research & Policy Center, Oct. 24, 2016)

Today we review a report that recommends 50 steps aimed at state and federal program and policies that could make the USA’s transportation system carbon free by 2050. The steps include making carbon reduction strategies a key priority by exploiting the growth of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and the sharing of cars and bicycles, adding more effective public transit, employing smart pricing policies and phasing out carbon intensive vehicles and fuels. co2-emissions-by-country  

Key Quotes:

“Efficient electric vehicles that can be powered by clean, renewable electricity are entering the marketplace faster than the hybrid cars of a decade ago “

 “An explosion of technology-enabled services – from carsharing to bikesharing to Lyft and Uber – has begun to revolutionize transportation in many cities. “

Public transportation reduces vehicle travel (and greenhouse gas emissions) by about 10 percent in U.S. cities, and cities across the country are considering bold plans to expand access to high-quality transit.”

“Cities around the world have shown that smart pricing policies can reduce congestion and encourage the use of low-carbon modes of travel.”

 “autonomous vehicles can be deployed in ways that can support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially if they facilitate the use of shared mobility services, vehicle electrification and smart pricing, and if public policy limits any increases in vehicle travel resulting from automation.”

  • Climate concerns should inform every transportation policy decision…Only seven states have enforceable, economy-wide limits on carbon pollution, and, as of 2012, the vast majority of states and metropolitan planning organizations did not even consider greenhouse gas emissions in agency planning processes.
  • Low-carbon transportation should be at the front of the line for public funding … Between 1956 and 2014, 79 percent of all government capital expenditures on transportation went toward highways,
  • People should be rewarded for making low-carbon transportation choices….income tax exclusion for commuter parking subsidizes rush hour driving to the tune of more than $7 billion per year.
  • Carbon-intensive vehicles and fuels should be phased out…Federal policies have failed to tap the potential of lower-carbon fuels, with the federal Renewable Fuels Standard currently serving largely to encourage the use of corn ethanol
  • Public policy should encourage climate-friendly communities…some localities have begun to lift mandatory minimum parking requirements that add to the cost of new housing development and consume precious and limited urban space.
  • Public policy should foster innovation…Key state and federal policies hamper innovation by failing to account for changing circumstances such as the emergence of shared mobility services or growing demand for urban living, or by locking officials into spending or policy practices more attuned to the needs of a previous generation.”

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