An international team of researchers has used satellite images to map urban growth between 1985 and 2015. Each image captured 900 square meters of ground, a level of detail that allowed the scientists to study land-use change over time. In a paper in Nature Sustainability, they report that global urban... Read more →

California ARB issues feedstock-only pathway for camelina-based fuels under LCFS; zero ILUC emissions results in very low CI fuels

The California Air Resources Board has issued Sustainable Oils Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Clean Energy Holdings, a feedstock-only pathway for the production of camelina-based fuels under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The feedstock-only CI (carbon intensity) is 7.58 gCO2e/MJ. A feedstock-only pathway allows a fuel producer... Read more →

Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS

The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years. Among the actions proposed or considered in... Read more →

East Coast metropolitan statistical areas (J), with a larger map of New York metropolitan area (K, outer line) and New York City (K, inner line) highlight the consistent pattern of relatively low GHG urban core cities and high GHG suburbs. Credit: ACS, Jones and Kammen. Click to enlarge. Although population-dense... Read more →

CARB draft of updated AB 32 Scoping Plan for climate change actions post-2020; pushing for greater transportation reductions

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released the public discussion draft of the required update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan. (Earlier post.) The Scoping Plan describes the comprehensive range of efforts California must take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and meet the state’s... Read more →

European Parliament backs 6% cap on land-based biofuels, switchover to advanced biofuels; no mandate

In a vote on draft legislation, the European Parliament has backed a cap on the use of biofuels produced from starch-rich crops, sugars, oil and other crops grown on land and a speedy switchover to new biofuels from alternative sources such as seaweed and waste. The measures aim to reduce... Read more →

Study finds large-scale ramp-up in biofuel crops could result in warming in some tropical regions, cooling in temperate and polar regions

Global land-use changes caused by a major ramp-up in biofuel crops—enough to meet about 10% of the world’s energy needs—could make some regions warmer, according to a new integrated modeling study by researchers from MIT and the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. Using an integrated assessment model that links an... Read more →

MacArthur Foundation grant supports Urban Center for Computation and Data

A new Chicago-based research center using advanced computational methods to understand the rapid growth of cities will receive a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The funds help launch the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), an initiative of the Computation Institute (CI) dedicated... Read more →

UNEP and partners launch Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities; role of public transport

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners have launched a new initiative that aims to reduce pollution levels, improve resource efficiency and reduce infrastructure costs in cities across the world. Up to 80% of the world population is expected to reside in cities by 2050. This second wave of... Read more →

Researcher urges more effort on assessment of land and water impacts of oil sands production; reference point for other unconventional fuels

Bitumen production from the Canadian oil sands provides a point of reference that could be used to observe and better manage the land and water impacts of a rapid transition to unconventional fuels, suggests Dr. Sarah Jordaan of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group, Department of Earth and Planetary... Read more →

United States light duty vehicle use, greenhouse gas emissions and selected characteristics of density and roadway extent. Credit: ACS, Mashayekh et al. Click to enlarge. After considering a wide range of possible strategies to reduce light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, a team from Carnegie Mellon University, RAND Corporation and the... Read more →

Urban density is one of the most important determinants of car use and transport-related energy consumption in cities. Source: WHO report. Click to enlarge. Among strategies to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector, a shift to active transport (walking and cycling) and rapid transit/public transport combined with improved land... Read more →

Projected population densities under the SANDAG 2050 RTP/SCS. Click to enlarge. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in the San Diego Superior Court against the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), challenging SANDAG’s $214-billion 2050 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (2050 RTP/SCS).... Read more →

Paved surfaces in the Houston area keep the city warmer than more natural surfaces. Credit: UCAR. Click to enlarge. New research by a team from the US, China and Japan focusing on the Houston, Texas area suggests that widespread urban development alters weather patterns in a way that can make... Read more →

Unique effect of independent variables for the linear regression model (log-linear plots). Shaded blue regions indicate 95% confidence intervals. Hash marks along the x-axes indicate independent variable value for each of the 83 cities. Credit: ACS, Bechle et al. Click to enlarge. In the first empirical study using satellite measurements... Read more →

US transportation GHG emissions under the Base Case and three Mitigation Scenarios. Source: Greene and Plotkin (2011). Click to enlarge. A new study published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change finds that combined actions across three fronts—technology, policy, and consumer behavior—could deliver up to a 65% reduction in... Read more →

Analysis concludes that current transportation policy in most US states will likely worsen GHG emission trends in US

US states are in a unique position to bring down transportation-related GHG emissions, given their primary role in setting statewide transportation policy and directing large amounts of transportation funding. However, most states use few of the available transportation policy tools to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector,... Read more →

California Air Resources Board Adopts Regional Targets for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Light Duty Vehicles

At its meeting in Sacramento yesterday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and 2035 associated with passenger vehicle travel in the state’s 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations. (Earlier post.) The proposed targets, required under SB 375 (2008, Steinberg), are designed to help... Read more →

Summary of CO2 emissions for BAU and Maximum Impact (MI ) scenarios. The MI scenario anticipates complete tailpipe decarbonization of road and rail. Click to enlarge. The entire UK transport sector could see a 76% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared with business-as-usual under a Maximum Impact (MI) scenario... Read more →

California SB 375 Report Proposes GHG Reduction Targets to Curb Sprawl Emissions from Transportation

The California Air Resources Board released a draft report that proposes targets for land use and transportation planning in 2020 and 2035 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with passenger vehicle travel in the state’s eighteen Metropolitan Planning Organizations, including the four largest: Southern California, San Diego, the Bay Area,... Read more →

USDOT and HUD Launch Collaborative Effort to Create Sustainable, Livable Communities That Integrate Transportation, Housing and Economic Development

The US Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are collaborating for the first time to award up to $75 million in funding—$35 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants—for localized planning activities that ultimately... Read more →

Even the most ambitious combined scenario so far falls short of required GHG cuts. Click to enlarge. If the EU is to meet its overall target of cutting total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% relative to 1990 by 2050, then transport must reduce its emissions by 50-80% compared to 1990,... Read more →

Analysis Finds That First-Generation Biofuel Use of Up to 5.6% in EU Road Transport Fuels Delivers Net GHG Emissions Benefits After Factoring in Indirect Land Use Change

A new report by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has calculated that the use of up to 5.6% of first-generation, land-using biofuels in EU road transport fuels delivers a net greenhouse gas reduction benefit (13 Mt CO2 savings in a 20-year horizon) even after factoring in... Read more →

by Jack Rosebro Total anthropogenic emissions (thick solid line) and amount of total emissions (46%) remaining in the atmosphere as the airborne fraction (thick dashed line). Thinner lines represent observed atmospheric CO2 increase derived from direct measurements, taking the average of Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and the South Pole (thin solid... Read more →

Delucchi’s plan in abstract. FHV roads are red and LLM streets are blue. Source: Delucchi. Click to enlarge. Noting that “virtually all that is undesirable in the current land use transportation system stems from the fact that FHVs [fast, heavy vehicles] are present everywhere,” Dr. Mark Delucchi at the Institute... Read more →

New Study Finds Flaw in Carbon Accounting for Bioenergy, Another Contends That Indirect Land Use Change Emissions for Biofuels Will Be Up To Twice Direct Land Use Change Emissions

Thirteen scientists and land use experts conclude in a new paper that an important but fixable error in legal accounting rules used to measure compliance with carbon limits for bioenergy could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging deforestation. Their paper is published in the 23 Oct. issue... Read more →

Discussion Paper Suggests Mechanisms for Addressing Biofuel GHG Emissions Under Cap-and-Trade Schemes; Avoiding the “Renewability Shortcut” and Moving Toward Carbon Management for All Transportation Fuels

Including biofuels under a cap-and-trade scheme could create a more complete carbon management framework for the transportation fuels sector, according to a new peer-reviewed discussion paper by Dr. John DeCicco. DeCicco, formerly on staff at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), is now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Michigan’s... Read more →

US GHG emissions allocated to systems, and by materials and land management. The Land Sink, represented by the outer ring, offset the equivalent of 13% of total US anthropogenic emissions in 2006. The entire pie chart represents total US emissions in 2006; the inner portion of the pie chart represents... Read more →

National Research Council Study: More Compact Development Could Reduce VMT, Fuel Use and CO2 Emissions Anywhere from Less than 1% to 11%

Increasing the population and employment density in metropolitan areas could reduce vehicle travel, energy use, and CO2 emissions anywhere from less than 1% up to 11% by 2050 compared to a base case for household vehicle usage, according to a new report from the National Research Council. The reductions depend... Read more →