Green Car Congress  
Go to GCC Discussions forum About GCC Contact  RSS Subscribe Twitter headlines

« Brown University Researchers Develop Prototype Polymer-Based Battery | Main | Scuderi to Show Air-Hybrid Diesel Engine Design at Hanover Show »

Print this post

Project to Model Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Policies in Transportation

13 September 2006

The University of Michigan (U-M) will lead a four-university team in a large-scale project to develop software to help analysts craft greenhouse gas reduction policies in the transportation industry.

The study will focus on the transportation industry, where emissions reduction policies have significant consequences on the economy and materials use, and can fail due to unintended results that can offset environmental gains, said Steven Skerlos, associate professor of mechanical engineering at U-M.

Skerlos and James Winebrake, chair of the public policy department at Rochester Institute of Technology, are co-directors of the $1.9 million, five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation. Other universities include the University of California at Berkeley and Northeastern University.

The premise for the research is the fact that significant greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will not decrease unless environmental costs are captured in the marketplace and new government policies are implemented. The US transportation industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country’s entire economy, so any serious reduction in emissions must include the transportation sector.

Specifically, we want to know if proposed policies would have unintended and undesirable consequences on the function of the automotive market, on the industry’s life cycle environmental impact, or on the industry’s demand for materials

—Steven Skerlos

The researchers will look at how the effectiveness of government policies is constrained by producer incentives, consumer preferences and technological constraints. For instance, if the best economic choice for producers to respond to greenhouse gas policies is to increase their use of lighter-weight aluminum rather than steel, that could offset emissions reductions because aluminum production requires more electricity. This electricity can come from either highly intensive CO2 sources such as coal generation or less intensive sources such as hydroelectric generation.

To predict these unintended consequences, researchers must integrate models of market decisions and technological performance with life cycle assessment and materials flow analysis, a process that marries public policy, engineering, natural resources and behavioral research. The project will culminate with the development of an analytical tool called CAPA (the computational automotive policy analysis software program).

The project is funded though the NSF MUSES program (Materials Use: Science, Engineering and Society), which supports programs that study the sustainable use of materials and the mitigation of adverse human impact on the environment.

September 13, 2006 in Climate Change, Policy | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef00d834ea63a069e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Project to Model Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Policies in Transportation:

Comments

I'm glad somebody is looking at this. Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences.

I hope they also include the impact of mass transportation schemes (construction of and running costs) with realistic ridership expectations.

This doesn't sound logical, studies like this must have been done before the Kyoto Protocol was even seriously debated, or voted on, let alone ratified, by countries that represent half of the worlds GDP.
Don't tell me that they are only studying this now...

Hmm. A policy tool that will most seriously effect automakers being executed in Michigan? All respect to the University, but anyone think influence will be applied to support outcomes gentle to US automakers' agenda? It couldn't be in a better (worse) place for that. Good luck U of M!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Green Car Congress © 2013 BioAge Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Home | BioAge Group