Steps Toward Emissions Free Transport

A new report released by The Pew Center on Global Climate Change addresses a number of ways the United States can reduce fossil fuel use and increase overall efficiency throughout the transportation sector. The report also concludes that if the U.S. government provides clear policy direction to the fuel and vehicle industries to drive private investment, the future of fuel cells and hydrogen hold out the promise of eliminating GHG emissions from transportation sector.

Washington, D.C. – June 13, 2003 [] Transportation sources in the U.S. account for nearly a third of nation’s GHG emissions. It is critical that an effective climate change policy for the U.S. address these emissions, David L. Greene of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Andreas Schafer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in the report. “The U.S. is the owner of the world’s largest transportation system, and reducing emissions from this system is critical to an effective GHG reduction strategy,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The U.S. transportation presently accounts for seven of ten barrels of oil the nation consumes. Many of the actions that would reduce emissions from transportation would also address other national priorities, including U.S. dependence on imported oil. The report also states that if steps are taken now with existing technologies and investments, it will be possible to reduce carbon emissions by about 20 percent by 2015, and almost 50 percent by 2030, compared to ‘business as usual.’ Some of the reports recommendations are: – Fuel economy for new cars and light trucks can be increased by 25-33 percent over the next 10-15 years using market-ready technologies. Emerging technologies, including advanced diesel engines and hybrid-electric vehicles are likely to reap fuel savings of 50-100 percent by 2030. These technologies could be adopted without reducing the size or performance of the vehicles. – R & D and voluntary efforts are necessary but not sufficient, mandatory policies are essential to pull technological improvements into the marketplace. – Fuel cells and hydrogen hold out the tantalizing promise of eliminating GHG emissions from this sector, but government must provide clear policy direction in order to drive massive private investment by the fuel and vehicle industries. The report concludes that a cost-effective portfolio of policy options to address transportation’s GHG emissions exists, but the long lead time required to turn over an entire fleet of vehicles and the supporting infrastructure mean that policies must be implemented now to create the impetus for change.
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