|EIA Projections of New England transportation sector energy consumption through 2030. Click to enlarge.|
Environment Northeast (ENE), a research and advocacy group, has released a detailed roadmap to reduce greenhouse gases in the region, which includes the Northeast US states and eastern Canadian provinces.
The 275-page Climate Change Roadmap is the result of two years of research, consultation with industry experts, peer groups and government officials, and a thorough review of best practices. The Roadmap’s 10 Priority Climate Solutions are broken down into three main categories: energy, transportation and storing carbon.
According to the report, transportation accounts for 124 of the 346 MMTCOe generated annually in the region, or approximately 35% of total GHG emissions.
If fully implemented, ENE estimates these 10 priorities would reduce greenhouse gas pollutants from power plants, industrial sources, cars and trucks and by storing carbon in the region’s forests and suitable geologic formations, totaling at least 35-40 million metric tons by 2020.
These 10 priorities would achieve the 2020 emissions targets set by the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers and put the region on the path towards the mid-century target of 75% lower emissions.
Michael Stoddard, ENE Project Director and co-author of the Climate Change Roadmap said the regional approach expands the marketplace for new technologies, promotes uniformity of regulations, and shares the costs of research, development and planning.
The goal for the region is to emit one quarter of current greenhouse gas emission levels by 2050, while improving our quality of life and strengthening our state and provincial economies.
New lighting technology uses a quarter as much energy; new car technology can carry passengers using a quarter the amount of fuel; new power plant technology can provide electricity while emitting only a quarter as much CO2, so we know it can be done. Now we need to switch to these and other technologies across the entire economy.—Michael Stoddard
Three of the 10 priority solutions are targeted at the transportation sector:
- Transition to No-Carbon or Low-Carbon Transportation Fuels
- Establish a declining net greenhouse gas fuel standard on a full lifecycle basis
- Explore pathways to develop low-greenhouse gas biofuels in the region
- Explore the expansion of electric mobility infrastructure (plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles)
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles
- Implement emissions standards for all light-duty vehicles (supporting and implementing the California CO2 standards for new vehicles)
- Improve fuel economy standards in the US and Canada (and using procurement policies to accelerate the adoption of more fuel efficient vehicles)
- Reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
- Reduce Emissions from Heavy-Duty Vehicles
- Reduce black carbon emissions form in-use diesel engines
- Promote improved efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles
- Improve the efficiency of the region’s freight transportation system
Over the longer term and by mid-century, contributions from all of the transportation policy elements recommended in this Transportation Chapter will be required in order to achieve the 75% to 85% emissions reduction goal. The growth in vehicle miles traveled will have to be eliminated and emissions per mile will have to be reduced through a combination of new technologies, improvements in vehicle efficiency, and lower net GHG content fuels.
The other policy proposals related to incentives, research and planning will likely be critical to achieving the deep reductions in emissions required for the transportation sector and support these four drivers and policies.